|Venstre, Liberal Party of Denmark|
|Venstre, Danmarks Liberale Parti|
|Leader||Lars Løkke Rasmussen|
|Founded||1870, total reform in 1910|
|Youth wing||Venstres Ungdom|
|Student wing||Liberal Students of Denmark|
|International affiliation||Liberal International|
|European affiliation||Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe|
|European Parliament group||Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe|
|Politics of Denmark
Venstre[note 1] (Danish pronunciation: [ˈʋɛnsdʁɐ], literally "left"), full name Venstre, Danmarks Liberale Parti (English: Left, Liberal Party of Denmark), is a conservative-liberal and agrarian political party in Denmark. Founded as part of a peasants movement against the landed aristocracy, today it espouses an economically liberal pro-free market ideology.
Venstre is the major party of the centre-right in Denmark, and is the largest party in the country. The party has produced many Prime Ministers, and most recently governed from 2001 to 2011 as the major partner in a coalition with the Conservative People's Party, with support from the Danish People's Party. In the 2011 parliamentary elections, Venstre received 26.7% of the vote, and 47 out of 179 seats. It is led by Lars Løkke Rasmussen, who took over as party leader and Prime Minister from Anders Fogh Rasmussen when the latter became Secretary General of NATO in 2009.
Venstre is a market liberal party within the Nordic agrarian tradition, and today is notably more pro-free market than its sister parties. Some describe it as classical liberal, since its leader from 1998 to 2009, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, is known for his authorship of the book From Social State to Minimal State. His book advocated an extensive reform of the Danish welfare state along classical liberal lines, including lower taxes and less government interference in corporate and individual matters. In later years, Anders Fogh Rasmussen has drifted away from his earlier views and has called liberalism an outdated ideology.
The party is a member of Liberal International and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE). Three of Denmark's thirteen MEPs are from Venstre, and they sit with the ALDE Group in the European Parliament.
Venstre, or "the Left" in English, was founded in 1870 under the name Det Forenede Venstre (The United Left). It was formed through the merger of three parliamentary factions, all of whom had identified as leftist in the context of the time. From 1895–1910 it was known as Venstrereformpartiet (Left Reform Party), and after that as Venstre.
Venstre was traditionally a party advocating free trade and farmers' interests as opposed to the interests of the aristocracy which were the platform of the other conservative party Højre (The Right). This traditional landed basis resulted in a relative decline in influence due to the rapidly accelerating urbanisation of Danish society. Starting in the 1880s, the party began expanding into urban regions as well.
By the 1910s, the splitting off of the Social Liberals and the appearance of the Social Democrats had pushed Venstre toward the centre, and it often relied on its former Conservative adversaries for parliamentary support. After the 1960s Venstre was reoriented as a more classical liberal party. During the leadership of Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the party turned further to the right.
List of government participation
- 1901–1909 (as the Venstre Reform Party)
- 1950–53 with the Conservative People's Party
- 1968–71 with the Conservative People's Party and the Danish Social Liberal Party
- 1978–79 with the Social Democratic Party
- 1982–88 with the Conservative People's Party, Centre Democrats, and the Christian People's Party (junior partner)
- 1988–90 with the Conservative People's Party and Social Liberal Party (junior partner)
- 1990–93 with the Conservative People's Party
- 2001–11 with the Conservative People's Party (senior partner)
- Johan Henrik Deuntzer (July 24, 1901 – January 14, 1905)
- Jens Christian Christensen (January 14, 1905 – October 12, 1908)
- Niels Neergaard (October 12, 1908 – August 16, 1909)
- Ludvig Holstein-Ledreborg (August 16, 1909 – October 28, 1909)
- Klaus Berntsen (July 5, 1910 – June 21, 1913)
- Niels Neergaard (May 5, 1920 – April 23, 1924)
- Thomas Madsen-Mygdal (December 14, 1926 – April 30, 1929)
- Knud Kristensen (November 7, 1945 – November 13, 1947)
- Erik Eriksen (October 30, 1950 – September 30, 1953)
- Poul Hartling (December 19, 1973 – February 13, 1975)
- Anders Fogh Rasmussen (November 27, 2001 – April 5, 2009)
- Lars Løkke Rasmussen (April 5, 2009 – September 15, 2011)
Leaders since 1929
- 1929–1941, Thomas Madsen-Mygdal (1876–1943)
- 1941–1949, Knud Kristensen (1880–1962)
- 1949–1950, Edvard Sørensen (1893–1954)
- 1950–1965, Erik Eriksen (1902–1972)
- 1965–1977, Poul Hartling (1914–2000)
- 1977–1984, Henning Christophersen (b. 1939)
- 1984–1998, Uffe Ellemann-Jensen (b. 1941)
- 1998–2009, Anders Fogh Rasmussen (b. 1953)
- 2009–, Lars Løkke Rasmussen (b. 1964)
Origin of the name
The fact that the major centre-right political party in a country calls itself 'Left' is often confusing to many foreign (and sometimes Danish) observers. The name has, however, its historical explanation. At the time of its foundation, Venstre affirmed progressive ideas in the then Danish parliament. Their opponents, Højre (Right), the forerunner of the present-day Conservative People's Party, advocated for established interests, particularly the Church of Denmark and the landed gentry. In current Danish politics there is a clear distinction between the concepts of Venstre (Left, i.e. the party bearing that name) and venstrefløj (left wing, i.e. socialist and other left-leaning parties). The use of the word for "left" in the name of the Danish political party Radikale Venstre and the Norwegian party Venstre is meant to refer to liberalism and not socialism.
Members of the party are referred to as Venstremænd and Venstrekvinder, respectively "Venstre Men" and "Venstre Women" (singular: -mand / -kvinde).
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (September 2012)|
Since the elections in 2001, Venstre has enacted a so-called "tax stop" in order to halt the growth in taxes seen during the previous eight years under the Social Democrats. This tax stop has been under heavy fire from the parties on the left wing of Danish politics, allegedly for being "asocial" and "only for the rich."
Attempts to control the growth in public expenditures, have however, been less successful than originally hoped by the party. Public spending has continued to increase by approximately 1% above inflation, per year.
In 2004, two small tax cuts went into effect:
First, people with jobs get a 3% tax reduction on the 5% "bottom tax" (Danish: Bundskat). This initiative is supposed to encourage people to go off welfare, and take jobs instead.
Second, the bottom limit of the "middle tax" (Danish: Mellemskat) of 6%, is raised by 12,000 Danish Kroner every year, over the next four years. This will limit the income stresses of middle incomes and families with children.
Venstre has so far refrained from making statements on the future of the "top tax" (Danish: Topskat) of 15%, and the Value Added Tax (Danish: "Moms") of 25%.
The income tax in Denmark ranges from [9%–44%] for ultra low income families to [44%–62%] progressively for middle-class families. 850,000 Danes (31% of everyone employed) pay a marginal income tax of 62% although the overall effective rate will be lower.
|Election year||# of overall votes||% of overall vote||% of Danish vote||# of overall seats won||# of Danish seats won||+/-||Notes|
|1964||547,770||20.8 (#2)||0||leading the opposition|
|1966||539,027||19.3 (#2)||3||leading the opposition|
|1968||530,167||18.6 (#3)||1||part of the Social Liberal-led government|
|1971||450,904||15.6 (#3)||4||part of the opposition|
|2001||1,077,858||31.2 (#1)||14||leading of the government coalition|
|2005||974,636||29.0 (#1)||4||leading of the government coalition|
|2007||908,472||26.2 (#1)||6||leading of the government coalition|
|2011||947,725||26.7 (#1)||1||leading the opposition|
|Election year||# of votes||% of votes||# of seats won||+/-||Notes|
Youth and student wings
- Contributions to liberal theory
- Liberalism worldwide
- List of liberal parties
- Liberal democracy
- Liberalism and radicalism in Denmark
- Nordic agrarian parties
- The party name is officially not translated into any other language, but is in English often referred to as the Liberal Party. Similar rules apply for the name of the party's youth wing Venstres Ungdom.
- Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck
- 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.
- Josep M. Colomer (25 July 2008). Political Institutions in Europe. Routledge. p. 260. ISBN 978-1-134-07354-2.
- "AKVA3: Valg til regions råd efter område, parti og stemmer/kandidater/køn". Statistics Denmark. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
- "VALGK3: Valg til kommunale råd efter område, parti og stemmer/kandidater/køn". Statistics Denmark. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
- Emil Joseph Kirchner; Alistair H. Thomas (3 November 1988). Liberal Parties in Western Europe. Cambridge University Press. p. 280. ISBN 978-0-521-32394-9. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
- Hans Slomp (30 September 2011). Europe, A Political Profile: An American Companion to European Politics: An American Companion to European Politics. ABC-CLIO. pp. 415, 420. ISBN 978-0-313-39182-8. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
- Nanna Kildal; Stein Kuhnle (7 May 2007). Normative Foundations of the Welfare State: The Nordic Experience. Routledge. p. 74. ISBN 978-1-134-27283-9.
- Åsa Bengtsson; Kasper Hansen; Ólafur Þ Harõarson; Hanne Marthe Narud, Henrik Oscarsson (15 November 2013). The Nordic Voter: Myths of Exceptionalism. ECPR Press. p. 206. ISBN 978-1-907301-50-6.
- Dimitri Almeida (2012). The Impact of European Integration on Political Parties: Beyond the Permissive Consensus. Routledge. p. 98–. ISBN 978-0-415-69374-5.
- Almeida, Dimitri. "Liberal Parties and European Integration".
- Esaiasson, Peter; Heidar, Knut (1999). Beyond Westminster and Congress: the Nordic experience. Columbus: Ohio State University Press. p. 377. ISBN 978-0-8142-0839-7.
- "Europavalg". DR. Retrieved 2009-06-07.
- Tom Matz (2004), Venstre ved du hvor du har (Danish). ForlagsKompagniet: Nørhaven Book.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Venstre (Denmark).|
- (Danish) Venstre official site
- Denmark's Liberal Party presentation in English
- (Danish) Party Profile from the newspaper Politiken