Labour Party (Norway)

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Labour Party
Leader Jonas Gahr Støre
Parliamentary leader Jonas Gahr Støre
Slogan "Alle skal med"
("Everyone shall take part")
Founded 1887
Headquarters Youngstorget 2 A, 5th floor Oslo
Youth wing Workers' Youth League
Membership 200,500 (peak, 1950)[1]
55,869 (2011)[2]
Ideology Social democracy[3]
Political position Centre-left
International affiliation Progressive Alliance,
Socialist International (Observer)
European affiliation Party of European Socialists
Nordic affiliation SAMAK
Colours Red
55 / 169
County Councils[4]
273 / 728
Municipal / City Councils[5]
3,373 / 10,781
Sami Parliament
10 / 39
Politics of Norway
Political parties
* Formerly member of Comintern (1919–1923) and Labour and Socialist International (1938–1940).
The party headquarters

The Labour Party (Norwegian: Arbeiderpartiet, A/Ap), formerly the Norwegian Labour Party, is a social-democratic[6][7][8][9] political party in Norway. It was formerly the senior partner of the governing Red-Green Coalition, and its former leader, Jens Stoltenberg, is the former Prime Minister of Norway. The party is currently led by Jonas Gahr Støre.

The Labour Party is officially committed to social-democratic ideals. Its slogan since the 1930s has been "everyone shall take part", and the party traditionally seeks a strong welfare state, funded through taxes and duties.[10] Since the 1980s, the party has included more of the principles of a social market economy in its policy, allowing for privatisation of government-held assets and services and reducing income tax progressivity, following the wave of economic liberalisation in the 1980s. During the first Stoltenberg government, the party's policies were inspired by Tony Blair's New Labour and saw the most widespread privatisation by any Norwegian government to that date.[11] The party has frequently been described as increasingly neoliberal since the 1980s, both by political scientists and opponents on the left.[12] The Labour Party profiles itself as a progressive party that subscribes to cooperation on a national as well as international level. Its youth wing is the Workers' Youth League. The party is a full member of the Party of European Socialists and Progressive Alliance, and is an observer member of the Socialist International. The Labour Party has always been a strong supporter of Norway's NATO membership and has supported Norwegian membership in the European Union during two referendums. During the Cold War, when then party was in government most of the time, the party closely aligned Norway with the United States at the international level and followed an anti-communist policy at the domestic level, in the aftermath of the 1948 Kråkerøy speech and culminating in Norway being a founding member of NATO in 1949.[13]

Founded in 1887, the party steadily increased in support until it became the largest party in Norway in 1927, a position it has held ever since. This year also saw the consolidation of conflicts surrounding the party during the 1920s following its membership in the Comintern from 1919 to 1923. It formed its first government in 1928, and has led the government for all but 16 years since 1935. From 1945 to 1961, the party had an absolute majority in the Norwegian parliament, the only time this has ever happened in Norwegian history. During this time, Norway was casually referred to as a "one party state". The domination by the Labour Party, during the 1960s and early 1970s, was initially broken by competition from the left, primarily from the Socialist People's Party. From the end of the 1970s however, the party started to lose voters to the right, leading to a turn to the right for the party under Gro Harlem Brundtland during the 1980s. In 2001 the party achieved its worst electoral results since 1924, forcing it to commit to a co-operation agreement with other parties in order to form a majority government.[10]


The party was founded in 1887 in Arendal and first ran in elections to the Parliament of Norway in 1894. It entered Parliament in 1904 after the 1903 election, and steadily increased its vote until 1927, when it became the largest party. The party were members of Comintern, a Communist organisation, between 1918 and 1923.[14]

From the establishment of Vort Arbeide in 1884, the party had a growing and notable organisation of newspapers and other press outlets. The party press system eventually resulted in Norsk Arbeiderpresse (“Norwegian Labour Press”, now A-pressen). In January 1913 the party had 24 newspapers, and 6 more newspapers were founded in 1913. The party also had the periodical Det 20de Aarhundre.[15] In 1920 the party had 33 newspapers and 6 semi-affiliated newspapers.[16] The party had its own publishing house, Det norske Arbeiderpartis forlag, succeeded by Tiden Norsk Forlag. In addition to books and pamphlets, Det norske Arbeiderpartis forlag published Maidagen (annual May Day publication), Arbeidets Jul (annual Christmas publication) and Arbeiderkalenderen (calendar).[17]

From its roots as a radical alternative to the political establishment, the party grew to its current dominance through several eras:

The party experienced a split in 1921 caused by a decision made two years earlier to join the Communist International, and the Social Democratic Labour Party of Norway was formed. In 1923 the party left the Communist International, while a significant minority of its members left the party to form the Communist Party of Norway. In 1927, the Social Democrats were reunited with Labour. Some Communists also joined Labour, whereas other Communists tried a failed merger endeavor which culminated in the formation of the Arbeiderklassens Samlingsparti.

In 1928, Christopher Hornsrud formed Labour's first government; it lasted only two weeks. During the early 1930s Labour abandoned its revolutionary profile and set a reformist course. Labour then returned to government in 1935 and remained in power until 1965 (except for the World War II exile period between 1940–1945 and one month in 1963). During most of the first twenty years after World War II, Einar Gerhardsen led the party and the country. He is often referred to as "Landsfaderen" (Father of the Nation), and is generally considered one of the main architects of the rebuilding of Norway after World War II. This is often considered the "golden age" of the Norwegian Labour Party.

The party was a member of the Labour and Socialist International between 1938 and 1940.[18]

In 1958 two Workers' Youth League (Norway) members (Berge Furre and Kåre Sollund) contacted MPs of the labour party, to have MPs sign a petition, as a part of what is known as the Easter Uprising of the Labour Party.[19] All the MPs who signed, except one—later retracted their signatures.[19]

Other periods of the Labour Party's leadership of the national government have been 1971-1972, 1973–1981, 1986–1989, 1990–1997 and 2000–2001.

In the election in 2001 the party reached a low point of 24.3% of the popular vote, but was still the largest party in the Storting (parliament). In the election of 2005 the party regained support and received 32.7% of the popular vote. It is the leading partner in the centre-left Red-Green Coalition, which won a majority in the 2005 elections. Labour leader Jens Stoltenberg became Prime Minister and lead a coalition government, the first coalition government that the Labour Party has entered. Stoltenberg was previously Prime Minister from 2000 to 2001.

In 2011, the party changed its official name from the Norwegian Labour Party (Det norske arbeiderparti) to the Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet). The party claimed there had been confusion among voters at polling stations because of the difference between the official name, Norwegian Labour Party, and the common use name "Labour Party". The name change will cause Arbeiderpartiet to appear on the ballot, thus eliminating any potential confusion.[20][21]

On 22 July 2011, a gunman opened fire at the Labour Party's youth camp (ages 13–25), killing 69 people, and killing 8 more in Oslo by a bomb towards a Government building (which is led by Labour Party).

In the election of 2013 the party-led coalition lost the election but Labour remains the largest party in the Storting. This election ended Stoltenberg for nearly ten years of rule. Stoltenberg remained the party leader but he stepped down due to him being appointed Secretary General of NATO. Jonas Gahr Støre was chosen as new party leader on 14 June 2014.[22]

Party leaders[edit]

Jonas Gahr Støre, the present party leader

Labour Prime Ministers[edit]

Parliamentary election results[edit]

Parliamentary election results, Arbeiderpartiet.
Campaign booth at Karl Johans gate ahead of the Norwegian local elections, 2007.
Parliament of Norway
Date Votes Seats Position Leader
# ±
1894 0.3 %
0 / 114
Steady 0 Opposition Gustav A. Olsen-Berg
1897 0.6 %
0 / 114
Steady 0 Opposition Carl Jeppesen
1900 5.2 %
0 / 114
Steady 0 Opposition Ludwig Meyer
1903 12.1 %
4 / 117
Increase 4 Opposition Christian Holtermann Knudsen
1906 15.9 %
11 / 123
Increase 7 Opposition Christian Holtermann Knudsen
1909 21.5 %
11 / 123
Steady 0 Opposition Oscar Nilssen
1912 26.2 %
23 / 123
Increase 12 Opposition Christian Holtermann Knudsen
1915 32.0 %
19 / 123
Decrease 4 Opposition Christian Holtermann Knudsen
1918 31.6 %
18 / 123
Decrease 1 Opposition Christian Holtermann Knudsen
1921 21.3 %
29 / 150
Increase 11 Opposition Kyrre Grepp
1924 18.4 %
24 / 150
Decrease 5 Opposition Oscar Torp
1927 36.8 %
59 / 150
Increase 35 Government Oscar Torp
1930 31.4 %
47 / 150
Decrease 12 Opposition Oscar Torp
1933 40.1 %
69 / 150
Increase 22 Opposition Oscar Torp
1936 42.5 %
70 / 150
Increase 1 Government Oscar Torp
1945 41.0 %
76 / 150
Increase 6 Government Einar Gerhardsen
1949 45.7 %
85 / 150
Increase 9 Government Einar Gerhardsen
1953 46.7 %
77 / 150
Decrease 8 Government Einar Gerhardsen
1957 48.3 %
78 / 150
Increase 1 Government Einar Gerhardsen
1961 46.8 %
74 / 150
Decrease 4 Government Einar Gerhardsen
1965 43.1 %
68 / 150
Decrease 6 Opposition Einar Gerhardsen
1969 46.5 %
74 / 150
Increase 6 Opposition Trygve Bratteli
1973 35.3 %
62 / 155
Decrease 12 Government Trygve Bratteli
1977 42.3 %
76 / 155
Increase 14 Government Reiulf Steen
1981 37.1 %
65 / 155
Decrease 11 Opposition Reiulf Steen
1985 40.8 %
71 / 157
Increase 6 Opposition Gro Harlem Brundtland
1989 34.3 %
63 / 165
Decrease 8 Opposition Gro Harlem Brundtland
1993 36.9 %
67 / 165
Increase 4 Government Thorbjørn Jagland
1997 35.0 %
65 / 165
Decrease 2 Opposition Thorbjørn Jagland
2001 24.3 %
43 / 165
Decrease 22 Opposition Thorbjørn Jagland
2005 32.7 %
61 / 169
Increase 18 Government Jens Stoltenberg
2009 35.4 %
64 / 169
Increase 3 Government Jens Stoltenberg
2013 30.8 %
55 / 169
Decrease 9 Opposition Jens Stoltenberg


  1. ^ Røed, Lars-Ludvig (7 January 2009). "Lengre mellom partimedlemmene i dag". Aftenposten. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck
  4. ^ "Valg 2011: Landsoversikt per parti" (in Norwegian). Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  5. ^ "Arbeidarpartiet". Valg 2011 (in Norwegian). Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  6. ^ Christina Bergqvist (1 January 1999). Equal Democracies?: Gender and Politics in the Nordic Countries. Nordic Council of Ministers. pp. 320–. ISBN 978-82-00-12799-4. 
  7. ^ David Arter (15 February 1999). Scandinavian Politics Today. Manchester University Press. pp. 71–. ISBN 978-0-7190-5133-3. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  8. ^ Ari-Veikko Anttiroiko; Matti Mälkiä (2007). Encyclopedia of Digital Government. Idea Group Inc (IGI). pp. 389–. ISBN 978-1-59140-790-4. Retrieved 19 July 2013. 
  9. ^ Richard Collin; Pamela L. Martin (2012). An Introduction to World Politics: Conflict and Consensus on a Small Planet. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 218–. ISBN 978-1-4422-1803-1. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Arbeiderpartiet - Ørnen i Norge - Partiene - NRK Nyheter
  11. ^ Avskjed mellom linjene, Aftenposten
  12. ^ Myten om Gros nyliberalisme, Dagbladet
  13. ^ Haakon Lie, Norsk biografisk leksikon
  14. ^ "Hva historien forteller.. 1920 - 1935". Arbeiderpartiet. Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  15. ^ Bjørnson, Øyvind (1990). På klassekampens grunn 1900-1920. Volume two of Arbeiderbevegelsens historie i Norge (in Norwegian). Oslo: Tiden. p. 276. ISBN 82-10-02752-2. 
  16. ^ Maurseth, Per (1987). Gjennom kriser til makt 1920-1935. Volume three of Arbeiderbevegelsens historie i Norge (in Norwegian). Oslo: Tiden. p. 65. ISBN 82-10-02753-0. 
  17. ^ Maurseth, 1987: p. 66
  18. ^ Kowalski, Werner. Geschichte der sozialistischen arbeiter-internationale: 1923 - 19. Berlin: Dt. Verl. d. Wissenschaften, 1985. p. 310
  19. ^ a b N.K. -
  20. ^ Slutt på Det norske Arbeiderparti
  21. ^ Arbeiderpartiet skifter navn
  22. ^ Westerveld, June; Salvesen, Geir (14 June 2014). "- Jeg har følt et intenst vemod". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  23. ^ German occupation from 1940 to 1945, he was in exile to London.

External links[edit]