Progress Party (Denmark)

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Progress Party

LeaderNiels Højland
Founded22 August 1972
HeadquartersLiljeallé 11
6920 Videbæk
IdeologyLaissez-faire Capitalism
Political positionFar-right[4]
European affiliationNone*
International affiliationNone

*Member of European Progressive Democrats in European Parliament (1979-1984)

The Progress Party (Danish: Fremskridtspartiet) is a political party in Denmark, which was founded in 1972. Its founder, the former lawyer Mogens Glistrup, gained huge popularity in Denmark after he appeared on Danish television, stating that he paid 0% in income tax. The party was placed on the right of the political spectrum, as it believed in radical tax cuts (including removing the income tax altogether) and vowed to cut government spending. An example is the suggestion to replace the entire department of defence with an answering machine with the recorded message "we surrender" in Russian.[citation needed] In the late 1970s, its agenda was "the gradual abolition of income tax, the disbandment of most of the civil service, the abolition of the diplomatic service and the scrapping of 90% of all legislation."[5] From the 1980s the party also adopted anti-immigration as a key issue.[2]

The party entered the Danish parliament after the 1973 "landslide election", and immediately became the second largest party in Denmark. After this the party gradually decreased in voter support, and when some of its leading members broke out and established the Danish People's Party in 1995, the party soon fell out of parliament altogether. Meanwhile, its former sister party, the Norwegian Progress Party remained united and became even more successful. Most of the support replace by the Danish People's Party.


The Progress Party was founded by tax lawyer Mogens Glistrup in 1972 as a tax protest.[6][7] The party's initial issues were less bureaucracy, abolishment of the income tax and simpler law paragraphs.[8] The party entered the Danish Parliament after the 1973 electoral "earthquake".[6] It won 15.9% of the vote and 28 seats, making it the second-largest party in parliament. It did however not form a part of the ruling coalition because the other parties refused to cooperate with it.

The Progress Party's seats in parliament fell to 20 in 1979, partly due to internal splits between "pragmatists" (slappere) who wanted to pursue cooperation with mainstream parties, and "fundamentalists" (strammere) who wanted the party to stand alone.[6] The party started to turn its attention on immigration by 1979, although immigration didn't become important before the late 1980s.[6][8] Having added a "Mohammedan-free Denmark" as one of its declared goals in 1980,[8] Glistrup increasingly made comments about Muslims, and used the slogan to "Make Denmark a Muslim Free Zone".[6] In 1983, Glistrup was sentenced to three years in prison for tax fraud.[6] While Glistrup was in prison, the pragmatists led by Pia Kjærsgaard took over the leadership of the party.[6] Returning to the party after his release in 1987, Glistrup was no longer in control of the party,[6] and internal strife broke out again.[8] Glistrup refused to vote in favour of a proposition which had been agreed with the government in 1988, and he was stripped of his position as a representative for the party.[8] He was expelled from the national executive of the party in 1991, and went on to found his own party, called Trivselspartiet ("Prosperity Party").[6][8]

The Progress Party won twelve seats in the 1990 parliamentary election. Internal disputes were still far from resolved, and eventually led the party to be split when the Danish People's Party (DF) was founded by Kjærsgaard and the pragmatists in 1995.[6][8] While liberals remained in the tax-focused Progress Party, the new DF included those who were concerned with immigration as their main issue.[6]

When the party's new leader Kirsten Jacobsen decided to leave politics in 1999, Mogens Glistrup was allowed in the party again in lack of any leading figures.[8] Because of this, the Progress Party's remaining four member in parliament left and founded Freedom 2000.[8] Despite their own positions against immigration, Glistrup's comments in the media had become so extreme that they felt forced to leave the party (comments included "either one is a racist or else one is a traitor", and demanding all "Mohammedans" in Denmark to be interned in camps and expelled from the country).[9] Glistrup led the party for the 2001 parliamentary election, but it had lost almost all its support and received less than one percent of the vote.[6] The party did not run in the 2005 parliamentary election, nor in the 2007 parliamentary election. It did however run for the local and regional elections in November 2005. The party generally received less than one percent of the votes (though with several local exceptions), and got one member elected in the municipality of Morsø.

In the Danish general election, 2019, the Progress Party will support The New Right.[10]


Main issues[edit]

The party's original three political issues were:[11]

  1. Abolishing income tax
  2. Cleaning up the law jungle
  3. Reducing bureaucracy

In the 1980s, Glistrup added a fourth point:

  • Putting a stop to immigration from Islamic countries and researching its consequences

Political positions[edit]

By 2010, its entire political program consisted of the following points, with the headline "Stop the immigration":[12]

  1. Abolishment of the income tax
  2. Drastic reduction of bureaucracy
  3. Drastic reduction of the "law jungle"
  4. Restoration of borders and border control product
  5. Stop of immigration
  6. Stop the allocation of Danish citizenship
  7. Confrontation with the integration policy
  8. Locate the responsibility for the mass immigration
  9. Denmark gradually out of the EU - for trade throughout the world

Party leadership[edit]

Political leaders[edit]

  • Mogens Glistrup (1972–1985)
  • Pia Kjærsgaard (1985–1995)
  • Kirsten Jacobsen (1995–1999)
  • Aage Brusgaard (1999–2001)
  • Aase Heskjær (2001–2003)
  • Jørn Herkild (2003–2006)
  • Henrik Søndergård (2006–2007)
  • Ove Jensen (2007–2009)
  • Ernst Simonsen (2009–2010)
  • Niels Højland (2010–)

Organisational leaders[edit]

  • Ulrik Poulsen (1974)
  • Palle Tillisch (1975–1976)
  • A. Roland Petersen (1976–1979)
  • V.A. Jacobsen (1980–1984)
  • Poul Sustmann Hansen (1984)
  • Ove Jensen (1984)
  • Helge Dohrmann (1984–1985)
  • Annette Just (1985–1986)
  • Johannes Sørensen (1987–1993)
  • Poul Lindholm Nielsen (1994)
  • Johannes Sørensen (1995–1999)
  • Per Larsen (1999)
  • Aage Brusgaard (1999–2001)
  • Aase Heskjær (2001–2003)
  • Jørn Herkild (2003–2006)
  • Henrik Søndergård (2006–2007)
  • Ove Jensen (2007–2009)
  • Ernst Simonsen (2009–2010)
  • Niels Højland (2010–)

Election results[edit]


Election # of total votes % of popular vote # of seats won Government
1973 485,289 15.9%
28 / 179
providing parliamentary support
1975 414,219 13.6%
24 / 179
in opposition
1977 453,792 14.6%
26 / 179
in opposition
1979 349,243 11.0%
20 / 179
in opposition
1981 278,383 8.9%
16 / 179
in opposition
1984 120,461 3.6%
6 / 179
in opposition
1987 160,461 4.8%
9 / 179
in opposition
1988 298,132 9.0%
16 / 179
in opposition
1990 208,484 6.4%
12 / 179
in opposition
1994 214,057 6.4%
11 / 179
in opposition
1998 82,437 2.4%
4 / 179
in opposition
2001 19,340 0.6%
0 / 179

European Parliament[edit]

Election # of total votes % of popular vote # of seats won
1979 100,702 5.7%
1 / 15
1984 68,747 3.4%
0 / 15
1989 93,985 5.3%
0 / 15
1994 59,687 2.9%
0 / 15
1999 14,233 0.7%
0 / 15


  1. ^ Paul Hainsworth (2008). The Extreme Right in Western Europe. Routledge. p. 49
  2. ^ a b Liubomir K. Topaloff (2012). Political Parties and Euroscepticism. Palgrave Macmillan. p.178.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Cook, Chris; Francis, Mary (1979). The first European elections: A handbook and guide. London: Macmillan Press. ISBN 0-333-26575-0.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Givens, Terri E. (2005). Voting radical right in Western Europe. Cambridge University. pp. 136–139. ISBN 978-0-521-85134-3.
  7. ^ Western Europe 2003. Psychology Press. 30 November 2002. p. 132. ISBN 978-1-85743-152-0. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i Valbum, Emilia (2 July 2008). "Her er Fremskridtspartiets historie". Berlingske Tidende (in Danish). Retrieved 29 December 2010.
  9. ^ Larsen, Ejvind (26 July 2007). "Frihed 2000". (in Danish). Retrieved 29 December 2010.
  10. ^ Andersen, Stine Agnholt (2 October 2016). "Fremskridtspartiet overlader scenen til Nye Borgerlige". TV Midtvest (in Danish). Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  11. ^ "Velkommen til Fremskridtspartiet". (in Danish). 10 December 2010. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
  12. ^ "Stop indvandringen". (in Danish). 10 December 2010. Retrieved 29 December 2010.

External links[edit]