Coalition Party (Norway)
Coalition Party (Norwegian: Samlingspartiet) was a short lived, Norwegian political party based around the Conservative Party and the Moderate Liberal Party. The main issues was opposition against the Liberal Party's union political radicalism, as well as the rising social democracy. Central people in the Coalition Party included Christian Michelsen, Wollert Konow and Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson.
The Coalition Party went to the polls in the 1903 election based on promises of negotiations with Sweden concerning Norwegian rights to consulates. The negotiation optimism was great, and the Coalition Party and the Conservatives won 63 seats in the Norwegian Parliament, against the Liberals' 49. On 22 October 1903 the second cabinet Hagerup was formed, led by Francis Hagerup from Samlingspartiet. In March 1905 this was replaced by a broad coalition government under Christian Michelsen, where also the Liberal Party took part. This government carried through the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905.
After the independence of Norway, there were attempts to consolidate a union of all non-socialist parties. But after the union issue had been solved, the internal unity disintegrated, and disputes that had been suppressed, blossomed. The Liberal Party declined to be absorbed into the party. The 1906 parliamentary election became a contest between the Liberals and Samlingspartiet. Exact figures for the election result are hard to compile, as a new election system was introduced, with single member constituencies and a plurality voting system, where many representatives were elected as independents, and only after the election joined a parliamentary faction. Statistics Norway estimates that candidates affiliated to Samlingspartiet won 32.8% of the votes, and the Liberal Party 49.9%. 75 of the 123 elected MPs joining the Liberal parliamentary group. Several of these, however, had been elected as Unity Party candidates.
Michelsen's cabinet remained in office, as the Liberal parliamentary faction was not cohesive enough to challenge it, until Michelsen resigned due to ill health in October 1907. By this time, the idea of one, united, non-socialist party was abandoned by the Conservatives, as it was clear that the Liberal Party would not be joining it. The name Samlingspartiet was, however, still used by some local branches of the Conservative Party right up to the 1930s.
- Leiv Mjeldheim, Den gylne mellomvegen - Tema frå Venstres historie 1905-1940, (Bergen, 2006)
- "Christian Michelsen's Government 1905 - 1907" at www.stortinget.no (Norwegian parliament website)