Venstres Ungdom

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Venstres Ungdom
Chairman Chris Holst Preuss
Headquarters Nørre Voldgade 82, 4.
1358 København K
Membership 2568 (January 2014)
Ideology Classical liberalism
European affiliation European Liberal Youth (LYMEC)
Website

Venstres Ungdom[1] (literally: Youth of the Left) is the youth wing of the Danish Liberal Party Venstre. The ideology of Venstre is centre-right. Venstres Ungdom is, in some matters, on the left, supporting such concepts as free migration and a completely secular state (the Evangelical-Lutheran Church is an integrated part of the Danish state), however also following a classical liberal line of concepts such as small government, low taxes, and personal freedom[citation needed]

History[edit]

The first branch of Venstres Ungdom was founded in Kolding in 1908, and the nationwide organization was established in 1912. This makes the youth wing older than the mother party, Venstre, which was established in its current form in 1910.

When Venstres Ungdom was founded, Denmark had a bicameral parliament, and suffrage to one of the houses (Landstinget) was reserved for men no younger than 35. Consequently, Venstres Ungdom was intended as an organization for Liberals younger than 35. When turning 35, a member became entitled to transfer his membership to the "real" political party Venstre. When Landstinget was abolished in 1953 this distinction became irrelevant, and members are now free to choose if they wish to belong to Venstres Ungdom, Venstre or both organizations. Most members transfer their membership from Venstres Ungdom to Venstre when they approach the age of 30.

Venstres Ungdom today[edit]

Venstres Ungdom is one of the largest political youth organization in Denmark. As of 31 December 2009, it had 1,730 members. Members play a major role in the election campaigns of Venstre. Other activities include organizing seminars and debates. The nationwide organization has a committee corresponding to each cabinet department headed by a Venstre politician. These committees hold regular meetings with the relevant cabinet ministers. A VU spokesman is elected to represent the organization for each major area. As of January 2006, the number of spokesmen is fourteen.

Current leaders of Venstres Ungdom[edit]

The Chairman and Deputy Chairman are elected by the annual National Congress (Landsstævnet) along with seven other members to the Executive Committee. The Treasurer is appointed by the Executive Committee.

Leaders[edit]

Organization[edit]

Important characteristics of Venstres Ungdom include

  • Decisions made by Venstre are not binding for Venstres Ungdom (and vice versa).
  • Venstres Ungdom is, legally speaking, completely independent and not a mere branch of Venstre.
  • The national organization has no control or ownership over its local branches. The most important part of the organization is the local branches. Each branch is represented by one representative in the National Board (Landsstyrelsen). The remaining nine members, including both Chairman and Deputy Chairman, are elected by the annual National Congress. It is an important aspect of VU ideology, that the national organization is organized bottom-up. All offices are elected with a term of office of one year. [1]

The combination of these characteristics makes Venstres Ungdom unique among the Danish political youth organizations.

The organization of the more recent Youth of the Socialist Peoples Party and Socialist Youth Front shows some similarities to the VU organization.

Prominent (former) members of Venstres Ungdom[edit]

Trivia[edit]

A traditional way of recognizing a resigning member's work for the organisation is by electing the person in question to the office of second deputy auditor (Danish: anden revisorsuppleant). This election takes place on all levels of the organization as part of the annual general meeting, along with the more serious elections of two auditors and a (first) deputy auditor. Unlike the first three mentioned, the second deputy auditor is a purely honorary title.

This tradition dates from the founding of the first VU branch in Kolding in 1908, when the newly elected second deputy auditor was informed by his high school principal that if he did not relinquish this new office immediately, he would be expelled from his school since it would be futile to attempt combining academic pursuits with a political career. Since the student's office carried virtually no obligations, VU history records this as the first clear case of harassment against the organization. Since then the unfortunate student's title has been used for honorary purposes.

Literature[edit]

  • Holst, Carl (1996), Drevet af ideen - historier om Venstres Ungdom. Copenhagen : Breidablik.
  • Madsen, Jens Løgstrup (1983), Den moderne liberalisme - rødder og perspektiver. Copenhagen : Breidablik.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The organisation's name is officially not translated into any other language. Similar rules apply for the name of the mother party Venstre. In Danish, Venstres Ungdom is usually referred to simply as "VU".

External links[edit]