Venstre (Denmark)

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Venstre, Liberal Party of Denmark
Venstre, Danmarks Liberale Parti
Leader Lars Løkke Rasmussen
Founded 1870, total reform in 1910
Headquarters Søllerødvej 30
2840 Holte
Youth wing Venstres Ungdom
Student wing Liberal Students of Denmark
Ideology Conservative liberalism[1]
Agrarianism[1][2]
Political position Centre-right[3]
International affiliation Liberal International
European affiliation Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
European Parliament group Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
Colours Blue
Folketing:
34 / 179
European Parliament:
2 / 13
Regions:[4]
62 / 205
Municipalities:[5]
767 / 2,444
Election symbol
V
Website
www.venstre.dk
Politics of Denmark
Political parties
Elections

Venstre[note 1] (Danish pronunciation: [ˈʋɛnsd̥ʁɐ], literally "left"), full name Venstre, Danmarks Liberale Parti (English: Left, Denmark's Liberal Party), is a conservative-liberal[6][7] and agrarian[8] 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.[9]

Venstre is the major party of the centre-right in Denmark, and the third 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 2015 parliamentary elections, Venstre received 19.5% of the vote, and 34 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[10] within the Nordic agrarian tradition,[11] and today is notably more pro-free market than its sister parties.[12] 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.

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.[13]

History[edit]

Venstre 1945 election material ("Venstre has been dealt a good hand")

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[citation needed].

List of government participation[edit]

  • 1901–1909 (as the Venstre Reform Party)
  • 1910–1913
  • 1920–1924
  • 1926–1929
  • 1945–1947
  • 1950–53 with the Conservative People's Party
  • 1968–71 with the Conservative People's Party and the Danish Social Liberal Party
  • 1973–75
  • 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)
  • 2015–

Prime Ministers[edit]

Leaders since 1929[edit]

Origin of the name[edit]

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).

Ideology[edit]

Tax policy[edit]

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 results[edit]

Parliament[edit]

Election year # of overall votes  % of overall vote  % of Danish vote # of overall seats won # of Danish seats won +/- Notes
1872
53 / 104
New In Det Forenede Venstre.
1873
51 / 104
Decrease 2 In Det Forenede Venstre.
1876
74 / 104
Increase 23 In Folketingets Venstre.
1879
65 / 104
Decrease 9 In Folketingets Venstre.
1881 (may)
69 / 102
Increase 4 In Folketingets Venstre.
1881 (jul)
75 / 102
Increase 6 In Folketingets Venstre.
1884 80,000 56.3 (#1)
81 / 102
Increase 6 In Venstre Reform Party.
1887 132,000 58.1 (#1)
74 / 102
Decrease 7 In Venstre Reform Party.
1890 123,000 53.0 (#1)
75 / 102
Increase 1 In Venstre Reform Party.
1892 63,000 28.1 (#3)
30 / 102
Decrease 45 In Venstre Reform Party.
1895 89,530 40.5 (#1)
53 / 114
Increase 23 In Venstre Reform Party.
1898 98,070 43.6 (#1)
63 / 114
Increase 10 In Venstre Reform Party.
1901 103,495 45.9 (#1)
76 / 114
Increase 13 In Venstre Reform Party.
1903 121,357 49.4 (#1)
73 / 114
Decrease 3 In Venstre Reform Party.
1906 94,272 31.2 (#1)
56 / 114
Decrease 17 In Venstre Reform Party.
1909 77,949 24.0 (#1)
37 / 114
Decrease 19 In Venstre Reform Party.
1910 118,902 34.1 (#1)
57 / 114
Increase 20
1913 103,917 28.6 (#2)
44 / 114
Decrease 13
1915
43 / 114
Decrease 1
1918 269,646 29.4 (#1)
45 / 140
Increase 2
1920 (apr) 350,563 34.2 (#1)
48 / 140
48 / 139
Increase 3
1920 (jul) 344,351 36.1 (#1)
51 / 140
51 / 139
Increase 3
1920 (sep) 411,661 34.0 (#1)
51 / 149
51 / 148
Steady 0
1924 362,682 28.3 (#2)
44 / 149
44 / 148
Decrease 7
1926 378,137 28.3 (#2)
46 / 149
46 / 148
Increase 2
1929 402,121 28.3 (#2)
43 / 149
43 / 148
Decrease 3
1932 381,862 24.7 (#2)
38 / 149
38 / 148
Decrease 5
1935 292,247 17.8 (#2)
28 / 149
28 / 148
Decrease 10
1939 309,355 18.2 (#2)
30 / 149
30 / 148
Increase 2
1943 376,850 18.7 (#3)
28 / 149
28 / 148
Decrease 2
1945 479,158 23.4 (#2)
38 / 149
38 / 148
Increase 10
1947 529,066 25.4 (#2)
46 / 150
46 / 149
Increase 8
1950 438,188 21.3 (#2)
32 / 151
32 / 149
Decrease 14
1953 (apr) 456,896 22.1 (#2)
33 / 151
33 / 149
Increase 1
1953 (sep) 499,656 23.1 (#2)
42 / 179
42 / 175
Increase 9
1957 578,932 25.1 (#2)
45 / 179
45 / 175
Increase 3
1960 512,041 21.1 (#2)
38 / 179
38 / 175
Decrease 7
1964 547,770 20.8 (#2)
38 / 179
38 / 175
Steady 0 leading the opposition
1966 539,027 19.3 (#2)
35 / 179
35 / 175
Decrease 3 leading the opposition
1968 530,167 18.6 (#3)
34 / 179
34 / 175
Decrease 1 part of the Social Liberal-led government
1971 450,904 15.6 (#3)
30 / 179
30 / 175
Decrease 4 part of the opposition
1973 374,283 12.3 (#3)
22 / 179
22 / 175
Decrease 8
1975 711,298 23.3 (#2)
42 / 179
42 / 175
Increase 20
1977 371,728 12.0 (#3)
21 / 179
21 / 175
Decrease 21
1979 396,484 12.5 (#2)
22 / 179
22 / 175
Increase 1
1981 353,280 11.3 (#4)
20 / 179
20 / 175
Decrease 2
1984 405,737 12.1 (#3)
22 / 179
22 / 175
Increase 2
1987 354,291 10.5 (#4)
19 / 179
19 / 175
Decrease 3
1988 394,190 11.8 (#4)
22 / 179
22 / 175
Increase 3
1990 511,643 15.8 (#3)
29 / 179
29 / 175
Increase 7
1994 775,176 23.3 (#2)
42 / 179
42 / 175
Increase 13
1998 817,894 24.0 (#2)
42 / 179
42 / 175
Steady 0
2001 1,077,858 31.2 (#1)
56 / 179
56 / 175
Increase 14 leading of the government coalition
2005 974,636 29.0 (#1)
52 / 179
52 / 175
Decrease 4 leading of the government coalition
2007 908,472 26.2 (#1)
46 / 179
46 / 175
Decrease 6 leading of the government coalition
2011 947,725 26.7 (#1)
47 / 179
47 / 175
Increase 1 leading the opposition
2015 685,188 19.5 (#3)
34 / 179
34 / 175
Decrease 13 minority government

Municipal elections[edit]

Election Seats
# ±
1993
1,601 / 4,703
Steady 0
1997
1,557 / 4,685
Decrease 44
2001
1,666 / 4,647
Increase 109
2005
804 / 2,522
Decrease 862
2009
699 / 2,468
Decrease 105
2013
767 / 2,444
Increase 68

Regional elections[edit]

Date Votes Seats
# ±
2001 963,220
139 / 374
Steady 0
2005 744,466
60 / 205
Decrease 79
2009 648,903
54 / 205
Decrease 6
2013 809,664
62 / 205
Increase 8

European Parliament[edit]

Election year # of votes  % of votes # of seats won +/- Notes
1979 252,767 14.5 (#3)
3 / 16
1984 248,397 12.5 (#4)
2 / 16
Decrease 1
1989 297,565 16.6 (#3)
3 / 16
Increase 1
1994 394,362 19.0 (#1)
4 / 16
Increase 1
1999 460,834 23.4 (#1)
5 / 16
Increase 1
2004 366,734 19.4 (#2)
3 / 14
Decrease 2
2009 474,041 20.2 (#2)
3 / 13
Steady 0
2014 379,840 17.7 (#3)
2 / 13
Decrease 1

Youth and student wings[edit]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ 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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ Josep M. Colomer (25 July 2008). Political Institutions in Europe. Routledge. p. 260. ISBN 978-1-134-07354-2. 
  4. ^ "AKVA3: Valg til regions råd efter område, parti og stemmer/kandidater/køn". Statistics Denmark. Retrieved 13 June 2010. 
  5. ^ "VALGK3: Valg til kommunale råd efter område, parti og stemmer/kandidater/køn". Statistics Denmark. Retrieved 13 June 2010. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ 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. 
  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. 
  10. ^ Dimitri Almeida (2012). The Impact of European Integration on Political Parties: Beyond the Permissive Consensus. Routledge. p. 98–. ISBN 978-0-415-69374-5. 
  11. ^ Almeida, Dimitri. "Liberal Parties and European Integration" (PDF). 
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ "Europavalg". DR. Retrieved 2009-06-07. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Tom Matz (2004), Venstre ved du hvor du har (Danish). ForlagsKompagniet: Nørhaven Book.

External links[edit]