Conservative Party (Norway)

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Conservative Party

Leader Erna Solberg
Parliamentary leader Trond Helleland
Founded25 August 1884
HeadquartersStortingsgaten 20
0161 Oslo (Høyres hus)
Youth wing Norwegian Young Conservatives
LGBT wingÅpne Høyre [1]
Membership (2020)Decrease2.svg 29,690 [2]
Ideology Conservatism [3] [4] [5]
Liberal conservatism [6]
Pro-Europeanism [7] [8]
Political position Centre-right [9]
European affiliation European People's Party (associate)
International affiliation International Democrat Union
Nordic affiliation Conservative Group
Colours  Conservative blue (official)
  Polo blue (customary)
Slogan"Vi tror på Norge" (We believe in Norway) [10]
45 / 169
County councils
167 / 777
Municipal councils [11]
1,954 / 10,620
Sámi Parliament [12]
1 / 39

The Conservative Party (Bokmål : Høyre, Nynorsk : Høgre, lit.'Right', H) is a liberal-conservative [13] political party in Norway. It is the major party of the Norwegian centre-right, and the leading party in the governing Solberg cabinet. The current party leader is the Prime Minister Erna Solberg. The party is a member of the International Democrat Union and an associate member of the European People's Party.


The party is traditionally a pragmatic and moderately conservative party strongly associated with the traditional elites within the civil service and Norwegian business life. During the 20th century the party has advocated economic liberalism, tax cuts, individual rights, support of monarchism, the Church of Norway and the Armed Forces, anti-communism, pro-Europeanism and support of the Nordic model; over time the party's values have become more socially liberal in areas such as gender equality, LGBT rights and immigration and integration issues, and the party is relatively secular despite its nominal support for the Church of Norway; the party defines itself as a party pursuing a "conservative progressive policy based on Christian cultural values, constitutional government and democracy." [14] [15] In line with its Western alignment the party strongly supports NATO, which Norway co-founded, and has consistently been the most outspokenly pro-European Union party in Norway, supporting Norwegian membership during both the 1972 and 1994 referendums. [16]

The Conservative Party traditionally caters to the educated elite; it has the most highly educated voters of all parties, and is the most popular party among elite groups. [17] [18] In the postwar era, the party formed a grand consensus with the Labour Party regarding foreign and security policy—frequently expressed by the maxim "the foreign policy is settled" (utenrikspolitikken ligger fast)—that led Norway to co-found NATO and enter into a close alliance with the United States, and the parties' economic policies have gradually become more similar. Both parties are pragmatic, relatively technocratic, anti-populist and close to the political centre. [19] The party supports the Nordic model, but also a certain amount of semi-privatisation through state-funded private services. [20]

Founded in 1884, the Conservative Party is the second oldest political party in Norway after the Liberal Party. [21] In the interwar era, one of the main goals for the party was to achieve a centre-right alliance against the growing labour movement, when the party went into decline. In the post-war era until 2005 the party participated in six governments; two 1960s national governments (Lyng's Cabinet and Borten's Cabinet), one 1980s Conservative Party minority government (Willoch's First Cabinet), two 1980s three-party governments (Willoch's Second Cabinet and Syse's Cabinet), in the 2000s Bondevik's Second Cabinet, and since 2013 it has been the dominant partner in a coalition government that currently also includes the Christian Democrats and the Liberal Party. [20]


Emil Stang, founder Emil Stang.jpg
Emil Stang, founder

The Conservative Party of Norway (Høire, now spelled Høyre, lit. "The Right") was founded in 1884 after the implementation of parliamentarism in Norway. The jurist Emil Stang was elected the first chairman of the party. Stang underlined important principles for the work in Høyre. The party was to be a social party of reforms that worked within the constitutional frames set by a parliamentary democracy. Høyre's electoral support has varied. In the 1981-election, Høyre got 31.7%. It was the best election since 1924. The result in 1993 was 17%. This election was influenced by the EU membership issue which divided the Liberal Party. The 1997 parliamentary election resulted in the lowest support since 1945, with only 14.3% of the votes. Høyre has since then seen increased popular support, and got 21.3% in the 1999 local elections and 21.2% in the 2001 parliamentary election.

Early 1900s

In the beginning of the 20th century Høyre took the initiative to construct a modern Norwegian communications network. After the devastating First World War it was important for Høyre to work for the reconstruction of sound, economic politics. An example of this is the resolution Høyre passed in 1923 introducing old-age insurance. But because of the State's finances it was not possible to continue this effort. Høyre was the leading party in opposition in the post-war years in Norway. Høyre fought against the Labour Party's regulating policy. Høyre wanted another future for Norway consisting of private initiative and creative forces.

Høyre has been a protagonist in the construction of the welfare system in Norway, and has on several occasions taken the initiative to correct injustices in social care regulations.[ citation needed ] Additionally, Høyre has advocated that the state's activity must concentrate on its basic problems and their solutions.

Post-war years

During the post-war years Høyre has consolidated its position as a party with appeal to all parts of the nation. Non-socialist co-operation as an alternative to socialism has always been one of Høyre's main aims. Høyre has led several coalition governments. The Christian Democratic Party was one of Høyre's coalition partners both in 1983–86 and 1989–90.

The party strongly supported the Western alignment of Norway during the Cold War; it strongly supports NATO, which Norway co-founded in 1949, and has consistently been the most outspokenly pro-European Union party in Norway, supporting Norwegian membership during both the 1972 and 1994 referendums. [16]

At the parliamentary election in 1993, it was impossible to present a credible non-socialist government alternative, because Høyre's former coalition parties, The Christian Democrats and the Centre Party, both campaigned strongly against Norwegian membership of the EU.

Before the parliamentary election in 1997 the Labour party proclaimed that they would not be willing to govern the country if they did not obtain more than 36.9% of the votes. As it turned out, they got 35%, and other parties had to form a government. Originally, there were serious discussions between Høyre, The Christian Democrats and Venstre to take on this task, but the end result was that the two latter parties joined forces with the Centre Party to create a minority government without Høyre.


In the parliamentary election in September 2001, Høyre obtained 21.2 percent of the votes. After a series of discussions Høyre was once again able to take part in a coalition government, this time with the Christian Democratic Party (KrF), and the Liberal Party (V). The total percentage obtained for these three parties at last general election was 37.5. Høyre, as the largest party in the coalition government, had 38 members in the present Storting, and 10 of the 19 ministers in the Government were Høyre representatives. Høyre's three focal areas this period were to establish a rise in quality in Norway's educational system, lower taxes and produce a higher service level in state sectors.

In the 2005 parliamentary election, Høyre obtained 14.1% of the votes. The election outcome put Høyre back in opposition, and the party got 23 members in the present Storting.

In the 2009 parliamentary election, Høyre obtained 17.2% of the votes, and 30 members in the present Storting.

During the local elections of 2011, however, the party gained 27.6 percent of the vote, and it has since then, without exceptions, polled first and second.

In the 2013 parliamentary election, Høyre obtained 26.8 percent of the votes, and 48 members in the present Storting. Høyre formed a minority government, with confidence and supply from KrF and V. The Government was reelected in 2017 and became a majority Government in 2019.


Høyre defines itself as a party pursuing a "conservative progressive policy based on Christian cultural values, constitutional government and democracy." [14]

Høyre is considered a centre-right reform party profess to the moderately conservative political tradition, similar to the CDU of Germany. The party broadly supports the Nordic model, like all large parties in Norway. In relative terms the party advocates a degree of fiscal free-market policies, including tax cuts and relatively little government involvement in the economy, while still supporting the welfare state and the social market economy.

Høyre is also the only party in the Storting which proposes a reduction in public spending. The party is often associated with wealth and has historically been attacked by the left for defending the country's richest, although this argument is rarely presented any more.[ citation needed ]

Traditionally the party supports established institutions such as the monarchy, the armed forces, and the state Church of Norway. Its social policies were always considered moderate and pragmatic for its time, but have gradually become more socially liberal. The party voted in 2008 for a law that recognised same-sex marriage and gay adoption rights. [22]

Membership and voter demographic

The party has around 30,000 registered members (2018). The Central Board of the Conservative Party meets seven times a year to discuss important matters such as budget, organisational work, plans, party platforms, and drawing up political lines.

The party traditionally caters to the educated elite; it has the most highly educated voters of all parties, and is the most popular party among elite groups. [17] [18]

List of party chairmen and leaders

Chairperson and Prime Minister Erna Solberg Erna Solberg, Wesenberg, 2011 (2).jpg
Chairperson and Prime Minister Erna Solberg
Former Prime Minister and Chairperson Jan P. Syse Jan P. Syse.JPG
Former Prime Minister and Chairperson Jan P. Syse
Former Prime Minister and Chairperson Kare Willoch Kare Willochs, 1983.jpg
Former Prime Minister and Chairperson Kåre Willoch

Electoral results

# %± pp#±
1885 33,28436.6Decrease2.svg 0.6 [lower-alpha 1]
30 / 114
Decrease2.svg 1Opposition2nd
1888 36,56438.7Increase2.svg 2.1
51 / 114
Increase2.svg 21Opposition (1888)Increase2.svg 1st
Minority (from 1889)
1891 50,05949.2 [lower-alpha 2] Increase2.svg 10.5
35 / 114
Decrease2.svg 16OppositionDecrease2.svg 2nd
1894 81,46249.3 [lower-alpha 2] Increase2.svg 0.1
40 / 114
Increase2.svg 5OppositionSteady2.svg 2nd
1897 77,68246.7 [lower-alpha 2] Decrease2.svg 2.6
25 / 114
Decrease2.svg 15OppositionSteady2.svg 2nd
1900 96,09240.8 [lower-alpha 2] Decrease2.svg 5.9
31 / 114
Increase2.svg 6OppositionSteady2.svg 2nd
1903 106,04244.8 [lower-alpha 2] Increase2.svg 4.0
47 / 117
Increase2.svg 16Coalition (1903–1905, H–VS)Steady2.svg 2nd
Coalition (1905–1906, H–V–MV)
1906 Within the Coalition Party Decrease2.svg 12.0 [lower-alpha 3]
36 / 123
Decrease2.svg 26 [lower-alpha 3] Opposition2nd
1909 175,38841.5 [lower-alpha 4] Increase2.svg 8.7
64 / 123
Increase2.svg 29Opposition (1909–1910)Increase2.svg 1st
Coalition (from 1910, H–FV)
1912 162,07433.2 [lower-alpha 4] Decrease2.svg 8.3
24 / 123
Decrease2.svg 40Coalition (1912–1913, H–FV)Decrease2.svg 2nd
Opposition (from 1913)
1915 179,02829.0 [lower-alpha 4] Decrease2.svg 4.2
21 / 123
Decrease2.svg 3OppositionSteady2.svg 2nd
1918 201,32530.4 [lower-alpha 4] Increase2.svg1.4
49 / 126
Increase2.svg 28Opposition (1918–1920)Steady2.svg 2nd
Coalition (from 1920, H–FV)
1921 301,37233.3 [lower-alpha 4] Increase2.svg 2.9
57 / 150
Increase2.svg 8Opposition (1921–1923)Increase2.svg 1st
Coalition (from 1923, H–FV)
1924 316,84632.5 [lower-alpha 4] Decrease2.svg 0.8
54 / 150
Decrease2.svg 3Opposition (1924–1926)Steady2.svg 1st
Coalition (from 1926, H–FV)
1927 240,09124.0 [lower-alpha 4] Decrease2.svg 8.5
31 / 150
Decrease2.svg 23Coalition (1927–1928, H–FV)Decrease2.svg 3rd
Opposition (from 1928)
1930 327,73127.4 [lower-alpha 4] Increase2.svg 3.4
44 / 150
Increase2.svg 13OppositionIncrease2.svg 2nd
1933 252,50620.2 [lower-alpha 4] Decrease2.svg 7.2
30 / 150
Decrease2.svg 14OppositionSteady2.svg 2nd
1936 310,32421.3 [lower-alpha 4] Increase2.svg 1.1
36 / 150
Increase2.svg 6OppositionSteady2.svg 2nd
1945 252,60817.0Decrease2.svg 4.3
25 / 150
Decrease2.svg 11OppositionSteady2.svg 2nd
1949 279,79018.3 [lower-alpha 5] Increase2.svg 1.3
23 / 150
Decrease2.svg 2OppositionSteady2.svg 2nd
1953 327,97118.6 [lower-alpha 5] Increase2.svg 0.3
27 / 150
Increase2.svg 4OppositionSteady2.svg 2nd
1957 301,39518.9 [lower-alpha 5] Increase2.svg 0.3
29 / 150
Increase2.svg 2OppositionSteady2.svg 2nd
1961 354,36920.0 [lower-alpha 5] Increase2.svg 1.1
29 / 150
Steady2.svg 0Opposition [lower-alpha 6] Steady2.svg 2nd
1965 415,61221.1 [lower-alpha 5] Increase2.svg 1.1
31 / 150
Increase2.svg 2Coalition (1965–1969, H–V–SpKrF)Steady2.svg 2nd
1969 406,20919.6 [lower-alpha 5] Decrease2.svg 1.5
29 / 150
Decrease2.svg 2Coalition (1969–1971, H–V–Sp–KrF)Steady2.svg 2nd
Opposition (from 1971)
1973 370,37017.4 [lower-alpha 5] Decrease2.svg 2.2
29 / 155
Steady2.svg 0OppositionSteady2.svg 2nd
1977 563,78324.8 [lower-alpha 5] Increase2.svg 7.4
41 / 155
Increase2.svg 12OppositionSteady2.svg 2nd
1981 780,37231.7Increase2.svg 6.9
53 / 155
Increase2.svg 12Minority (1981–1983)Steady2.svg 2nd
Coalition (from 1983, H–KrF–Sp)
1985 791,53730.4Decrease2.svg 1.3
50 / 157
Decrease2.svg 3Coalition (1985–1986, H–KrF–Sp)Steady2.svg 2nd
Opposition (from 1986)
1989 588,68222.2Decrease2.svg 8.2
37 / 165
Decrease2.svg 13Coalition (1989–1990, H–KrF–Sp)Steady2.svg 2nd
Opposition (from 1990)
1993 419,37317.0Decrease2.svg 5.2
28 / 165
Decrease2.svg 9OppositionDecrease2.svg 3rd
1997 370,44114.3Decrease2.svg 2.7
23 / 165
Decrease2.svg 5OppositionDecrease2.svg 4th
2001 534,85221.2Increase2.svg 6.9
38 / 165
Increase2.svg 15Coalition (H–KrF–V)Increase2.svg 2nd
2005 372,00814.1Decrease2.svg 7.1
23 / 169
Decrease2.svg 15OppositionDecrease2.svg 3rd
2009 462,46517.2Increase2.svg 3.1
30 / 169
Increase2.svg 7OppositionSteady2.svg 3rd
2013 760,23226.8Increase2.svg 9.6
48 / 169
Increase2.svg 18Coalition (H–FrP)Increase2.svg 2nd
2017 731,62125.1Decrease2.svg 1.7
45 / 169
Decrease2.svg 3Coalition (2017–2018, H–FrP)Steady2.svg 2nd
Coalition (2018–2019, H–FrP–V)
Coalition (2019–2020, H–FrP–V–KrF)
Coalition (from 2020, H–V–KrF)

See also


  1. Compared to the Conservatives, a broad movement opposing parliamentarism prior to the creation of political parties (in contrast with the Liberals which supported it). The Conservative Party was formed in 1884 in connection with this dispute.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Contested the election in alliance with the Moderate Liberal Party.
  3. 1 2 Compared to the combined seats and vote share of the Conservative Party, the Moderate Liberal Party, and the Coalition Party in the previous parliament.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Includes vote share and seats of the Free-minded Liberal Party (Statistics Norway). [23]
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 The Conservative Party ran on joint lists in a limited number of constituencies from 1949 to 1977. Vote numbers are from independent Conservative lists only, while vote percentage also includes the Conservative Party's estimated share from joint lists (Statistics Norway estimates). [24]
  6. In government coalition from 28 August 1963 to 25 September 1963, see Lyng's Cabinet.

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The Liberal Party is a social liberal political party in Norway. The party is the oldest in Norway, and has enacted reforms such as parliamentarism, freedom of religion, universal suffrage and state schooling. For most of the late 19th and early 20th century, it was Norway's largest and dominant political party, but in the postwar era it lost most of its support and became a relatively small party. The party has nevertheless participated in several centrist and centre-right government coalitions in the postwar era. It currently holds eight seats in the Parliament, and is also a part of Norway's government together with the Conservative Party and the Christian Democratic Party. The leader of the party is Guri Melby.

Willoch's First Cabinet was a minority, Conservative Government of Norway. It succeeded Brundtland's First Cabinet, after the Conservative victory in the 1981 Storting election; and sat from 14 October 1981 to 8 June 1983. It was replaced by Willoch's Second Cabinet, a coalition of the Conservative, Centre and Christian Democrat parties to form a majority government. Willoch's First Cabinet was the first Conservative-only cabinet since Stang's Second Cabinet of 1893–95, and there has not been another Conservative-only cabinet since.

2009 Norwegian parliamentary election

The 2009 parliamentary election was held in Norway on 13 and 14 September 2009. Elections in Norway are held on a Monday in September, usually the second or third Monday, as determined by the king. Early voting was possible between 10 August and 11 September 2009, while some municipalities also held open voting on 13 September. Voters elected 169 members for the Storting, each for a four-year term. Voter turn-out in the 2009 general elections was 76.4%.

2013 Norwegian parliamentary election

A parliamentary election was held in Norway on 8 and 9 September 2013 to elect all 169 members of the unicameral Norwegian Parliament. The centre-right coalition obtained 96 seats, while the incumbent red–green coalition government obtained 72 seats and the Green Party obtained one. The Labour Party won the largest share (30.8%) of the votes cast, with the Conservatives coming second (26.8%), after increasing its share by 9.6 percentage points.

Solbergs Cabinet Government of Norway since 2013

The Solberg Cabinet is the incumbent government of the Kingdom of Norway, headed by Conservative Party leader Erna Solberg as Prime Minister. The government was appointed by King Harald V on 16 October 2013 following the parliamentary election on 9 September, consisting of the Conservative Party and the Progress Party as a minority government. On 16 December 2015, the cabinet was re-shuffled. The government secured renewed support following the 2017 parliamentary election. It was expanded on 14 January 2018, when an agreement was reached to include the Liberal Party, and further expanded on 22 January 2019 when the Christian Democratic Party joined the coalition. On 20 January 2020, the Progress Party announced that it would withdraw from the government, citing the decision to bring home the family of a sick child from Syria, which included the child's mother, a Norwegian citizen who had volunteered for the Islamic State.

2017 Norwegian parliamentary election

A parliamentary election was held in Norway on 11 September 2017 to elect all 169 members of the unicameral Norwegian Parliament, the Storting. The non-socialist parties retained a reduced majority of 88 seats, allowing Prime Minister Erna Solberg's Conservative-Progress coalition to remain in government. The Liberal Party joined the coalition in January 2018 but it remained a minority cabinet until the Christian Democratic Party joined the coalition in 2019. The three largest centre-left parties won 79 seats. The Green Party retained its single seat, while the Red Party won its first ever seat.

2021 Norwegian parliamentary election Parliamentary election to be held in Norway

The next Norwegian parliamentary election is scheduled to be held on 13 September 2021. All 169 seats in the Norwegian legislature, the Storting, will be up for election.


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