Labour Party (Norway)

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Labour Party
Leader Jonas Gahr Støre
Parliamentary leader Jonas Gahr Støre
Founded 21. August 1887
Headquarters Youngstorget 2 A, 5th floor Oslo
Youth wing Workers' Youth League
Membership 200,500 (peak, 1950)[1]
56,024 (2014)[2]
Ideology Social democracy[3]
Political position Left-Wing
European affiliation Party of European Socialists
International affiliation Progressive Alliance,
Socialist International (Observer)
Nordic affiliation SAMAK
Colours      Red
Slogan "Alle skal med"
("Everyone shall take part")
County Councils[4]
Municipal / City Councils[5]
Sami Parliament

* 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 privatization of government-held assets and services and reducing income tax progressivity, following the wave of economic liberalization 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 privatization 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 the 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. 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. Between 2005 and 2013, Labour returned to power after committing to a coalition agreement with other parties in order to form a majority government.[10] Since losing 9 seats in the 2013 election, Labour has been in opposition.


The party was founded in 1887[14] 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.[15]

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.[16] In 1920 the party had 33 newspapers and 6 semi-affiliated newspapers.[17] 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).[18]

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

Moscow Theses[edit]

See also: Operation Poro

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.

Hornsrud cabinet[edit]

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.[19]

Easter Uprising[edit]

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.[20] All the MPs who signed, except one—later retracted their signatures.[20]

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.

21st century[edit]

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.[21][22]

On 22 July 2011, a terrorist 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.[23]

Polls in 2017[edit]

32.7 percent (without counting a margin of error,) of the people would have voted for the political party at that point in time, according to the January poll by TV2.[24]


As of 2015, the party has about 56,000 members.[25] They are organised at county level, municipality level and in about 2,500 local associations.[26]

The supreme body of the party is the Party Congress which is held every two years. The highest body in between the congresses is the National Delegate´s Meeting which is made up of the Executive Board and two delegates from each of the 19 counties.[26]

The executive board consists of 16 elected members as well as the leadership of the party.[26] As of 2015, the leadership is party leader Støre, deputy leaders Hadia Tajik and Trond Giske, and general secretary Kjersti Stenseng. The party has varied between having one of two deputy leaders

Since 2005, the party has a policy requiring full gender parity at each level of the organisation above ordinary membership.[27]

The party's youth organisation is the Workers' Youth League and there is a network for women within the party.[27] The party participates in elections to the Sami Parliament of Norway, and work related to this has its own organisational structure with seven local groups, a bi-yearly congress, a national council and the Labour group in the Sami Parliament.[28]

Party leaders[edit]

Jonas Gahr Støre, the present party leader

Labour Prime Ministers[edit]

  • Christopher Hornsrud (1928: 26 January – 15 February)
  • Johan Nygaardsvold (1935–1945)[29]
  • Einar Gerhardsen (1945–1951)
  • Oscar Torp (1951–1955)
  • Einar Gerhardsen (1955–1963)
  • Einar Gerhardsen (1963–1965)
  • Trygve Bratteli (1971–1972, 1973–1976)
  • Odvar Nordli (1976–1981)
  • Gro Harlem Brundtland (4 February – 14 October 1981, 1986–1989, 1990–1996)
  • Thorbjørn Jagland (1996–1997)
  • Jens Stoltenberg (2000–2001, 2005 –2013)

Parliamentary election results[edit]

Parliamentary election results, Arbeiderpartiet.
Campaign booth at Karl Johans gate ahead of the Norwegian local elections, 2007.
Date Votes Seats Position Size Notes
#  % ± pp # ±
1906 43,134 15.9% + 6.2 Increase 5 Opposition 3rd
1909 91,268 21.5% + 5.6 Increase 1 Opposition 4th
1912 128,455 26.2% + 4.7 Increase 12 Opposition 2nd
1915 198,111 32.0% + 5.8 Decrease 4 Opposition 3rd
1918 209,560 31.6% - 0.4 Decrease 1 Opposition 3rd
1921 192,616 21.3% - 10.3 Increase 11 Opposition 3rd
1924 179,567 18.4% - 2.9 Decrease 5 Opposition 3rd
1927 368,106 36.8% + 18.4 Increase 35 Opposition 1st government in 1928
1930 374,854 31.4% - 5.4 Decrease 12 Opposition 1st
1933 500,526 40.1% + 8.7 Increase 22 Opposition 1st government from 1935
1936 618,616 42.5% + 2.4 Increase 1 Government 1st
1945 609,348 41.0% - 1.5 Increase 6 Government 1st
1949 803,471 45.7% + 4.7 Increase 9 Government 1st
1953 830,448 46.7% + 1.0 Decrease 8 Government 1st
1957 865,675 48.3% + 1.6 Increase 1 Government 1st
1961 860,526 46.8% - 1.5 Decrease 4 Government 1st opposition in 1963
1965 883,320 43.1% - 3.7 Decrease 6 Opposition 1st
1969 1,004,348 46.5% + 3.4 Increase 6 Opposition 1st government 1971 to 1972
1973 759,499 35.3% - 1.2 Decrease 12 Government 1st
1977 972,434 42.3% + 7.0 Increase 14 Government 1st
1981 914,749 37.1% - 5.2 Decrease 11 Opposition 1st
1985 1,061,712 40.8% + 3.7 Increase 6 Opposition 1st government from 1986
1989 907,393 34.3% - 6.5 Decrease 8 Opposition 1st government from 1990
1993 908,724 36.9% + 2.6 Increase 4 Government 1st
1997 904,362 35.0% - 1.9 Decrease 2 Opposition 1st government from 2000
2001 612,632 24.3% - 10.7 Decrease 22 Opposition 1st
2005 862,456 32.7% + 8.4 Increase 18 Government 1st
2009 949,060 35.4% + 2.7 Increase 3 Government 1st
2013 874,769 30.8% - 4.6 Decrease 9 Opposition 1st


  1. ^ Røed, Lars-Ludvig (7 January 2009). "Lengre mellom partimedlemmene i dag". Aftenposten. 
  2. ^ Arbeiderpartiet. "Historisk økning i medlemstallet". Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  3. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  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. p. 320. ISBN 978-82-00-12799-4. 
  7. ^ David Arter (15 February 1999). Scandinavian Politics Today. Manchester University Press. p. 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). p. 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. p. 218. ISBN 978-1-4422-1803-1. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  10. ^ a b NRK. "Arbeiderpartiet - Ørnen i Norge". NRK. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  11. ^ Avskjed mellom linjene, Aftenposten
  12. ^ Myten om Gros nyliberalisme, Dagbladet
  13. ^ Haakon Lie, Norsk biografisk leksikon
  14. ^ Svennik Hoyer. "The Political Economy of the Norwegian Press" (PDF). Tidsskrift. Retrieved 30 December 2014. 
  15. ^ "Hva historien forteller.. 1920 - 1935". Arbeiderpartiet. Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  16. ^ 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. 
  17. ^ 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. 
  18. ^ Maurseth, 1987: p. 66
  19. ^ Kowalski, Werner. Geschichte der sozialistischen arbeiter-internationale: 1923 - 19. Berlin: Dt. Verl. d. Wissenschaften, 1985. p. 310
  20. ^ a b N.K. -
  21. ^ "Slutt på Det norske Arbeiderparti". Aftenposten. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  22. ^ Arbeiderpartiet skifter navn Dagbladet. 9 April 2011.
  23. ^ Westerveld, June; Salvesen, Geir (14 June 2014). "- Jeg har følt et intenst vemod". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  24. ^
  25. ^ Høyre har mistet hvert tiende medlem (Norwegian) E24
  26. ^ a b c Information in English Retrieved 18 April 2015. Archive.
  27. ^ a b Arbeiderpartiet. "Kvinnebevegelsen / Aps historie / Historien / Om AP - Arbeiderpartiet". Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  28. ^ Samepolitisk arbeid (Norwegian) Retrieved 18 April 2015
  29. ^ German occupation from 1940 to 1945, he was in exile to London.

External links[edit]