Centre Party (Norway)

Centre Party (Norway)
Centre Party
Leader Liv Signe Navarsete
Parliamentary leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum
Founded 1920
Headquarters Akersgata 35, Oslo
Youth wing Centre Youth
Membership 70,000 (peak, 1971)[1]
17,000 (2011)[2]
Ideology General:
Nordic agrarianism,
Social liberalism,[3]
Internal factions:
Social conservatism,[4]
Social democracy[4]
Political position Centre[5][6][7][8]
International affiliation None
European affiliation None
Official colours Green
11 / 169
County Councils[9]
61 / 728
Municipal / City Councils[10]
1,419 / 10,781
Sami Parliament
0 / 39
Politics of Norway
Political parties

The Centre Party (Norwegian: Senterpartiet, Sp) is a centrist and agrarian[11] political party in Norway, founded in 1920. The Centre Party's policy is not based on any of the major ideologies of the 19th and 20th century, but has a focus on maintaining decentralised economic development and political decision-making.

From its founding until 2000, the party had joined only non-socialist governments, but in 2005 changed allegiance and joined the Red-Green government. Since 1972, it has also maintained a principled opposition to Norwegian membership in the European Union.



The party was founded at the national convention of the Norsk Landmandsforbund during 17 to 19 June 1920, when it was decided by the association to run for the 1921 parliamentary election. In 1922 the association was renamed to the Norwegian Agrarian Association, and the political activity of the group was separated as the Farmers' Party[note 1] (Bondepartiet).[12]

During the eight decades since the Centre Party was created as a political faction of a Norwegian agrarian organisation, the party has changed a great deal. Only few years after the creation the party broke with its mother organisation and started developing a policy based on decentralisation, moving away from a single-minded agrarian policy, like that which has trapped many other European Centre Parties' conduct.

The 1930s have in the post-war era been seen as a controversial time in the party's history. This was as Vidkun Quisling, who later became leader of Nasjonal Samling, had been a Council of State for the party, and later even, the Farmers' Party had been negotiating with Nasjonal Samling for a coalition government. The negotiations did however stop, and the Farmers' Party supported a Labour government. Political scientist Trond Nordby in 2009 also said that the Farmers' Party has been given an undeservably bad reputation from this time, and that the party was not really "as dark brown as some claim".[13]

In 1959 the party changed their name to the Norwegian Democratic Party — Democrats (Norsk Folkestyreparti - Demokratene), but soon had to change the name again due to election technicalities. In June 1959 the name was changed to the current Centre Party. This happened out of the need to attract an additional electorate with the continuing decline of the agrarian share of the population.[12]

In local elections, the party enjoys strong support in several small municipalities, where the party has a strong influence. After the 2007 elections, 83[14] of the mayors in Norway represent the Centre Party. Only the Labour Party has more mayors, and relative to party size, the Centre Party has more mayors than any other.[15]

The Centre Party had supported only non-socialist coalition governments from 1930 to 2000, in seven governments, three of which were led by a Prime Minister from the party. By 2005 however, in the 2005 parliamentary election the party ran for government together with the Labour Party and the Socialist Left Party, as the Red-Green Coalition, with the Centre Party constituting the "green" part of the alliance. The coalition was successful in winning the majority of the seats in the Storting, and negotiations followed with the aim of forming a coalition cabinet led by the Labour Party's leader Jens Stoltenberg. These negotiations succeeded and the Centre Party entered the Second Stoltenberg Cabinet on 17 October 2005 with four ministers. The Red-Greens were re-elected to government in the 2009 election.

List of party leaders

Government participation

Governments led by Centre Party Prime Ministers:

With Prime Ministers from other parties:

  • The Government of Lars Korvald (KrF), 1972–73 (coalition of KrF, Sp, and V)
  • The Government of Kåre Willoch (H), 1983–86 (coalition of H, KrF, and Sp)
  • The Government of Jan P. Syse (H), 1989–90, (coalition of H, KrF, and Sp)
  • The first Government of Kjell Magne Bondevik (KrF), 1997–2000 (minority government coalition of KrF, Sp, and V)
  • The second Government of Jens Stoltenberg (Ap), 2005–present (coalition of Ap, Sp and SV)

Parliamentary election results

Year  % of votes Seats
1921 13.1 17
1924 13.5 22
1927 14.9 26
1930 15.9 25
1933 13.9 23
1936 11.5 18
1945 8.1 10
1949 7.9 12
1953 9.0 14
1957 9.3 15
1961 6.8 16
1965 9.4 18
1969 9.0 20
1973 6.8 21
1977 8.0 12
1981 4.3 11
1985 6.6 12
1989 6.5 11
1993 16.7 32
1997 7.9 11
2001 5.6 10
2005 6.5 11
2009 6.2 11

New logo (2010)

In December 2010, the Centre Party changed its logo to what it called a more "natural" clover.[16] Leading graphic designers were after the release critical of the new logo, calling it weak and unprofessional, and sarcastically questioned if the party had actually printed an early sketch of the logo by an error.[17] Soon after, it was found by the media that the logo had been taken from an image which were found on several image-sharing websites, such as Photobucket.[18] Still, within a few days, it was also found by a botanist that the plant on the image was in fact not even a real clover, but a Common wood sorrel (gauksyre),[19] even though the party says on its own website that the logo is "more like the clovers we find in nature" in contrast to their earlier logo.[16] The party later released a statement that they would retract the new logo and return to the drawing board.

External links


  1. ^ Though Bondepartiet is sometimes translated as the "Agrarian Party", sources such as the Centre Party itself[1] and Statistics Norway[2] use the term "Farmers' Party".


  1. ^ Røed, Lars-Ludvig (7 January 2009). "Lengre mellom partimedlemmene i dag". Aftenposten. http://www.aftenposten.no/fakta/innsikt/article2852464.ece. 
  2. ^ "Sp har mistet hvert femte medlem". Dagbladet. 15 March 2011. http://www.dagbladet.no/2011/03/15/nyheter/landbruk/politikk/senterpartiet/15816303/. Retrieved 15 March 2011. 
  3. ^ "GRUNNSYN – VERDIER – HISTORIE". Senterpartiet Nittedal. 16 July 2007. http://www.senterpartiet.no/article43089.html. 
  4. ^ a b Morstøl, Kjersti T.. "Fra bondeparti til sosialdemokrati". Universitetsavisa (NTNU). http://www.ntnu.no/universitetsavisa/nr4/ny9.html. Retrieved 11 November 2009. 
  5. ^ Archer, Clive (2005). Norway outside the European Union. London: Routledge. p. 68. ISBN 9780415282796. 
  6. ^ Rommetvedt, Hilmar (2003). The Rise of the Norwegian Parliament. London: Routledge. p. 190. ISBN 9780714652863. 
  7. ^ Hazan, Reuven Y. (2000). Centre Parties. London: Continuum International. p. 35. ISBN 9780826447630. 
  8. ^ Hauge, Knut A.G.. "Syntax Error?". kagh.no. http://www.kagh.no/fag/se/kap4_1.html. Retrieved 11 November 2009. 
  9. ^ "Valg 2011: Landsoversikt per parti" (in Norwegian). Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development. http://www.regjeringen.no/krd/html/valg2011/bf5.html. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  10. ^ "Senterpartiet" (in Norwegian). Valg 2011. Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. http://www.nrk.no/valg2011/valgresultat/parti/parti/sp/. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  11. ^ http://www.parties-and-elections.de/norway.html
  12. ^ a b Tvedt, Knut Are (29 September 2009). "Senterpartiet". Store norske leksikon. http://www.snl.no/Senterpartiet. 
  13. ^ Henriksen, Birger (30 June 2009). "Mener Senterpartiet flørter med nasjonalisme". TV2. http://www.tv2nyhetene.no/innenriks/politikk/valg09/mener-senterpartiet-floerter-med-nasjonalisme-2835402.html. 
  14. ^ "Flere kvinnelige ordførere". Statistisk sentralbyrå. January 29, 2008. http://www.ssb.no/kommvalgform/main.html. Retrieved 2009-09-04. 
  15. ^ Helljesen, Geir (March 16, 2007). "Sp vil ha flere ordførere" (in Norwegian). NRK. http://www.nrk.no/nyheter/1.2063857. Retrieved 2009-09-04. 
  16. ^ a b http://www.senterpartiet.no/meny-forside/sp-med-ny-logo-article67551-12919.html
  17. ^ http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/iriks/politikk/partiene/senterpartiet/article3937069.ece
  18. ^ http://www.dagbladet.no/2010/12/07/nyheter/senterpartiet/innenriks/design/14607431/
  19. ^ http://www.dagbladet.no/2010/12/08/nyheter/senterpartiet/innenriks/14626848/

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