Centre Party (Norway)

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Centre Party
Leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum
Parliamentary leader Marit Arnstad
Founded 19 May 1920
Headquarters Akersgata 35, Oslo
Youth wing Centre Youth
Membership 15,000 (2013)[1]
Ideology Centrism[2]
Political position Centre[4][5][6][7]
International affiliation None
European affiliation None
Colours Green
10 / 169
County Councils[8]
61 / 728
Municipal / City Councils[9]
1,419 / 10,781
Sami Parliament
0 / 39
Politics of Norway
Political parties

The Centre Party (Norwegian: Senterpartiet, Sp) is a centrist[2] and agrarian[2][10][11] political party in Norway, founded in 1920. The Centre Party's policy is not based on any of the major ideologies of the 19th and 20th century, but has a focus on maintaining decentralised economic development and political decision-making.

From its founding until 2000, the party had joined only non-socialist governments, but in 2005 changed its allegiance and joined the Red-Green Coalition government led by the Labour Party.

Since 1972, the Centre Party has maintained a principled opposition to Norwegian membership in the European Union, as well as wanting Norway to withdraw from the European Economic Area and the Schengen Agreement.[3]


The party was founded at the national convention of the Norsk Landmandsforbund during 17 to 19 June 1920, when it was decided by the association to run for the 1921 parliamentary election. In 1922 the association was renamed to the Norwegian Agrarian Association, and the political activity of the group was separated as the Farmers' Party[note 1] (Bondepartiet).[12]

During the eight decades since the Centre Party was created as a political faction of a Norwegian agrarian organisation, the party has changed a great deal. Only a few years after the creation the party broke with its mother organisation and started developing a policy based on decentralisation, moving away from a single-minded agrarian policy, like that which has trapped many other European Centre Parties' conduct.

The 1930s have in the post-war era been seen as a controversial time in the party's history. This was as Vidkun Quisling, who later became leader of Nasjonal Samling, had been a Councillor of State[disambiguation needed] for the party, and later even, the Farmers' Party had been negotiating with Nasjonal Samling for a coalition government. The negotiations did however stop, and the Farmers' Party supported a Labour government. Political scientist Trond Nordby in 2009 also said that the Farmers' Party has been given an undeservably bad reputation from this time, and that the party was not really "as dark brown as some claim".[13]

In 1959 the party changed their name to the Norwegian Democratic Party — Democrats (Norsk Folkestyreparti - Demokratene), but soon had to change the name again due to election technicalities. In June 1959 the name was changed to the current Centre Party. This happened out of the need to attract an additional electorate with the continuing decline of the agrarian share of the population.[12] The party's membership numbers peaked at 70,000 in 1971.[14]

In local elections, the party enjoys strong support in several small municipalities, where the party has a strong influence.

After the 2007 elections, 83[15] of the mayors in Norway represent the Centre Party. Only the Labour Party has more mayors, and relative to party size, the Centre Party has more mayors than any other.[16]

The Centre Party had supported only non-socialist coalition governments from 1930 to 2000, in seven governments, three of which were led by a Prime Minister from the party. By 2005 however, in the 2005 parliamentary election the party ran for government together with the Labour Party and the Socialist Left Party, as the Red-Green Coalition, with the Centre Party constituting the "green" part of the alliance. The coalition was successful in winning the majority of the seats in the Storting, and negotiations followed with the aim of forming a coalition cabinet led by the Labour Party's leader Jens Stoltenberg. These negotiations succeeded and the Centre Party entered the Second Stoltenberg Cabinet on 17 October 2005 with four ministers. The Red-Greens were re-elected to government in the 2009 election. It has been argued that the party's ideology has moved more towards social democracy in recent years.[17]

In late 2012 the Centre Party caused controversy in Norway when it emerged that the party had demanded higher import tariffs on meat and hard cheeses to protect Norwegian farmers from foreign competition.[18] This included increased duties of 429% on lamb, 344% on beef, and 277% on all but 14 exempted hard cheeses. [19]

The party is known in Norway for their support of high toll tariffs on foreign cheese and meat, called "toll protection",[20] and their proposal to shoot all wolves in Norway.[21]

List of party leaders[edit]

Government participation[edit]

Governments led by Centre Party Prime Ministers:

With Prime Ministers from other parties:

  • The Government of Lars Korvald (KrF), 1972–73 (coalition of KrF, Sp, and V)
  • The Government of Kåre Willoch (H), 1983–86 (coalition of H, KrF, and Sp)
  • The Government of Jan P. Syse (H), 1989–90, (coalition of H, KrF, and Sp)
  • The first Government of Kjell Magne Bondevik (KrF), 1997–2000 (minority government coalition of KrF, Sp, and V)
  • The second Government of Jens Stoltenberg (Ap), 2005–2013 (coalition of Ap, Sp and SV)

Parliamentary election results[edit]

Year  % of votes Seats
1921 13.1 17
1924 13.5 22
1927 14.9 26
1930 15.9 25
1933 13.9 23
1936 11.5 18
1945 8.1 10
1949 7.9 12
1953 9.0 14
1957 9.3 15
1961 6.8 16
1965 9.4 18
1969 9.0 20
1973 6.8 21
1977 8.0 12
1981 4.3 11
1985 6.6 12
1989 6.5 11
1993 16.7 32
1997 7.9 11
2001 5.6 10
2005 6.5 11
2009 6.2 11
2013 5.5 10

New logo (2010)[edit]

In December 2010, the Centre Party changed its logo to what it called a more "natural" clover. [22] Leading graphic designers were after the release critical of the new logo, calling it weak and unprofessional, and sarcastically questioned if the party had actually printed an early sketch of the logo by an error. [23] Soon after, it was found by the media that the logo had been taken from an image which were found on several image-sharing websites, such as Photobucket. [24] Still, within a few days, it was also found by a botanist that the plant on the image was in fact not even a real clover, but a common wood sorrel (gauksyre), [25] even though the party says on its own website that the logo is "more like the clovers we find in nature" in contrast to their earlier logo.[22] The party later released a statement that they would retract the new logo and return to the drawing board.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Though Bondepartiet is sometimes translated as the "Agrarian Party", sources such as the Centre Party itself[1] and Statistics Norway[2] use the term "Farmers' Party".


  1. ^ Jens Kihl (20 December 2013) Medlemsras i Senterpartiet Klassekampen. Retrieved 20 December 2013 (Norwegian)
  2. ^ a b c d Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck
  3. ^ a b Partienes syn på EU og EØS.
  4. ^ Archer, Clive (2005). Norway outside the European Union. London: Routledge. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-415-28279-6. 
  5. ^ Rommetvedt, Hilmar (2003). The Rise of the Norwegian Parliament. London: Routledge. p. 190. ISBN 978-0-7146-5286-3. 
  6. ^ Hazan, Reuven Y. (2000). Centre Parties. London: Continuum International. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-8264-4763-0. 
  7. ^ Hauge, Knut A.G. "Syntax Error?". kagh.no. Retrieved 11 November 2009. 
  8. ^ "Valg 2011: Landsoversikt per parti" (in Norwegian). Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  9. ^ "Senterpartiet". Valg 2011 (in Norwegian). Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  10. ^ Svante Ersson; Jan-Erik Lane (28 December 1998). Politics and Society in Western Europe. SAGE. p. 108. ISBN 978-0-7619-5862-8. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  11. ^ Christina Bergqvist (1 January 1999). Equal Democracies?: Gender and Politics in the Nordic Countries. Nordic Council of Ministers. p. 320–. ISBN 978-82-00-12799-4. 
  12. ^ a b Tvedt, Knut Are (29 September 2009). "Senterpartiet". Store norske leksikon. 
  13. ^ Henriksen, Birger (30 June 2009). "Mener Senterpartiet flørter med nasjonalisme". TV2. 
  14. ^ Røed, Lars-Ludvig (7 January 2009). "Lengre mellom partimedlemmene i dag". Aftenposten. 
  15. ^ "Flere kvinnelige ordførere". Statistisk sentralbyrå. January 29, 2008. Retrieved 2009-09-04. 
  16. ^ Helljesen, Geir (March 16, 2007). "Sp vil ha flere ordførere" (in Norwegian). NRK. Retrieved 2009-09-04. 
  17. ^ Morstøl, Kjersti T. "Fra bondeparti til sosialdemokrati". Universitetsavisa (NTNU). Retrieved 11 November 2009. 
  18. ^ Berglund, Nina (10 October 2012). "Protests rise over meat and cheese". Views and News from Norway. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  19. ^ "Changes to border protection for selected agricultural products". Government of Norway. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  20. ^ http://www.nationen.no/2012/09/18/nyheter/kronetoll/prosenttoll/toll/importvern/7664280/
  21. ^ http://www.nationen.no/2012/09/06/rovdyr/ulv/jakt/rovdyrforlik/fellingstillatelse/7637759/
  22. ^ a b http://www.senterpartiet.no/meny-forside/sp-med-ny-logo-article67551-12919.html
  23. ^ http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/iriks/politikk/partiene/senterpartiet/article3937069.ece
  24. ^ http://www.dagbladet.no/2010/12/07/nyheter/senterpartiet/innenriks/design/14607431/
  25. ^ http://www.dagbladet.no/2010/12/08/nyheter/senterpartiet/innenriks/14626848/

External links[edit]