Centre Party (Norway)
The Centre Party is a centrist
In politics, centrism is the ideal or the practice of promoting policies that lie different from the standard political left and political right. Most commonly, this is visualized as part of the one-dimensional political spectrum of left-right politics, with centrism landing in the middle between...

 and agrarian
Nordic Agrarian parties
The Nordic agrarian parties, or Nordic Centre parties, are agrarian political parties that belong to a political tradition peculiar to the Nordic countries...

 political party
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

 in Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, 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
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...



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
Norwegian parliamentary election, 1921

. In 1922 the association was renamed to the Norwegian Agrarian Association
Norwegian Agrarian Association
The Norwegian Agrarian Association is the largest Norwegian interest organization for farmers.It functions both as a labour union and as a trade union. It negotiates with the Norwegian Farmers and Smallholders Union and the Norwegian Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion about agricultural...

, and the political activity of the group was separated as the Farmers' PartyThough Bondepartiet is sometimes translated as the "Agrarian Party", sources such as the Centre Party itselfhttp://www.senterpartiet.no/article53888.html and Statistics Norway
Statistics Norway
Statistics Norway is the Norwegian statistics bureau. It was established in 1876.Relying on a staff of about 1,000, Statistics Norway publish about 1,000 new statistical releases every year on its web site. All releases are published both in Norwegian and English...

http://www.ssb.no/histstat/tabeller/25-25-3t.txt use the term "Farmers' Party".

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
__FORCETOC__Decentralization or decentralisation is the process of dispersing decision-making governance closer to the people and/or citizens. It includes the dispersal of administration or governance in sectors or areas like engineering, management science, political science, political economy,...

, 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
Vidkun Quisling
Vidkun Abraham Lauritz Jonssøn Quisling was a Norwegian politician. On 9 April 1940, with the German invasion of Norway in progress, he seized power in a Nazi-backed coup d'etat that garnered him international infamy. From 1942 to 1945 he served as Minister-President, working with the occupying...

, who later became leader of Nasjonal Samling, had been a Council of State
Council of State
The Council of State is a unique governmental body in a country or subdivision thereoff, though its nature may range from the formal name for the cabinet to a non-executive advisory body surrounding a head of state. It is sometimes regarded as the equivalent of a privy council.-Modern:*Belgian...

 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
Trond Nordby
Trond Nordby is a Norwegian historian and political scientist.He graduated with the cand.philol. degree in 1972, and took the dr.philos. degree in 1984. He worked as a research fellow and lecturer of history at the University of Oslo from 1975 to 1986...

 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".

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.

In local elections, the party enjoys strong support in several small municipalities, where the party has a strong influence. After the 2007 elections, 83 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.

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
Norwegian parliamentary election, 2005
Parliamentary elections were held in Norway on 12 September 2005. More than 3.4 million Norwegians were eligible for vote for the Storting, the parliament of Norway. The new Storting has 169 members, an increase of four over the 2001 election....

 the party ran for government together with the Labour Party and the Socialist Left Party
Socialist Left Party (Norway)
The Socialist Left Party or SV, is a Norwegian left-wing political party. At one point one of the smallest parties in Parliament, it became the fourth-largest political party in Norway for the first time in the 2001 parliamentary election, and has been so ever since...

, 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
Jens Stoltenberg
is a Norwegian politician, leader of the Norwegian Labour Party and the current Prime Minister of Norway. Having assumed office on 17 October 2005, Stoltenberg previously served as Prime Minister from 2000 to 2001....

. 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
Norwegian parliamentary election, 2009
The 2009 parliamentary election was held in Norway on 14 September 2009. Elections in Norway are held on a Monday in September, usually the second or third Monday, as determined by the king. Early voting was possible between 10 August and 11 September 2009, while some municipalities held open...


List of party leaders

  • Johan E. Mellbye
    Johan E. Mellbye
    Johan Egeberg Mellbye was the leader of the Norwegian Centre Party in the period 1920–1921. He also served as Minister of Agriculture 1904–1905, representing the Conservative Party....

  • Kristoffer Høgset 1921–1927
  • Erik Enge
    Erik Enge
    Erik Mathiassen Enge was the Norwegian Minister of Agriculture 1912-1913. From 1927-1930, he was the leader of the Centre Party. Enge was a farmer by profession.-References:...

  • Jens Hundseid
    Jens Hundseid
    Jens Hundseid was a Norwegian politician from the Agrarian Party. He was a member of the Norwegian parliament from 1924 to 1940 and Prime Minister of Norway from 1932 to 1933....

  • Nils Trædal
    Nils Trædal
    Nils Trædal was a Norwegian cleric and politician for the agrarian party Bondepartiet and leader of the party from 1938 to 1948...

  • Einar Frogner
    Einar Frogner
    Einar Frogner was the leader of the Norwegian Centre Party 1948-1954, and Minister of Agriculture in 1945 in the Unification Cabinet of Einar Gerhardsen. Frogner was a farmer by profession.-References:...

  • Per Borten
    Per Borten
    was a Norwegian politician from the Centre Party and Prime Minister of Norway from 1965 to 1971. Per Borten is credited for leading the modernization of what was then named Bondepartiet into today's Centre Party...

  • John Austrheim
    John Austrheim
    John Austrheim was a Norwegian politician and government minister for the Centre Party.Born in Gloppen, Sogn og Fjordane, Austrheim had no more than a primary education, and worked as a farmer when he was elected mayor of his municipality Gloppen in 1955...

  • Dagfinn Vårvik
    Dagfinn Vårvik
    Dagfinn Vårvik is a Norwegian politician for the Centre Party.From August to September 1963 he was Minister of Finance during the short-lived centre-right cabinet Lyng...

  • Gunnar Stålsett
    Gunnar Stålsett
    Gunnar Stålsett is the former bishop of Oslo, in the Church of Norway, from 1998 to 2005.Stålsett is a graduate from MF Norwegian School of Theology in Oslo, and was awarded the qualification cand.theol. in 1961. He has worked as a minister and taught at the University of Oslo...

  • Johan J. Jakobsen
    Johan J. Jakobsen
    Johan Jakob Jakobsen is a former politician from Norway, representing the Norwegian Centre Party.He had a long political career, sitting seven terms as a representative in the Norwegian Parliament, first elected in 1973. This run was not entirely successive, however, as he was a member of two...

  • Anne Enger Lahnstein
    Anne Enger Lahnstein
    Anne Enger, formerly Anne Enger Lahnstein is a Norwegian politician, but out of politics for the moment, as she is County Governor of Østfold. A former leader of the Centre Party, she is best known for her opposition to the European Union. She was the front person of the "No to EU"-campaign at the...

  • Odd Roger Enoksen
    Odd Roger Enoksen
    Odd Roger Enoksen is a Norwegian politician representing the Norwegian Centre Party.Having an agronomist education, he previously worked as a farmer. He was first elected to Parliament in 1989, after a career in local politics...

  • Åslaug Haga
    Åslaug Haga
    Åslaug Marie Haga is a Norwegian politician. She was the leader of the Centre Party from 2003 to 2008.-Early life and career:Haga was born in Nes, Akershus. She has a Masters degree in political science from the University of Oslo...

  • Lars Peder Brekk
    Lars Peder Brekk
    Lars Peder Brekk is a Norwegian politician for the Centre Party. He was private secretary to the Minister of Fisheries 1985-1986, and himself Minister of Fisheries in 2000. He was elected to parliament in 2005. From 20 June 2008, he has been Minister of Agriculture and Food...

     (acting) 2008
  • Liv Signe Navarsete
    Liv Signe Navarsete
    Liv Signe Hundere Navarsete is the Norwegian Minister of Local Government and Regional Development and leader of the Center Party. She took office in 2005 serving in the Stoltenberg's Second Cabinet....


Government participation

Governments led by Centre Party Prime Ministers:
  • The Government of Peder Kolstad
    Peder Kolstad
    Peder Ludvik Kolstad was a Norwegian politician from the Agrarian Party. He was Prime Minister of Norway from 1931 until his death in 1932.-References:...

     1930–31 (minority government
    Minority government
    A minority government or a minority cabinet is a cabinet of a parliamentary system formed when a political party or coalition of parties does not have a majority of overall seats in the parliament but is sworn into government to break a Hung Parliament election result. It is also known as a...

  • The Government of Jens Hundseid
    Jens Hundseid
    Jens Hundseid was a Norwegian politician from the Agrarian Party. He was a member of the Norwegian parliament from 1924 to 1940 and Prime Minister of Norway from 1932 to 1933....

     1931–32 (minority government)
  • The Government of Per Borten
    Per Borten
    was a Norwegian politician from the Centre Party and Prime Minister of Norway from 1965 to 1971. Per Borten is credited for leading the modernization of what was then named Bondepartiet into today's Centre Party...

     1965–71 (coalition
    Coalition government
    A coalition government is a cabinet of a parliamentary government in which several political parties cooperate. The usual reason given for this arrangement is that no party on its own can achieve a majority in the parliament...

     of Sp, H
    Conservative Party of Norway
    The Conservative Party is a Norwegian political party. The current leader is Erna Solberg. The party was since the 1920s consistently the second largest party in Norway, but has been surpassed by the growth of the Progress Party in the late 1990s and 2000s...

    , KrF, and V
    Venstre (Norway)
    The Liberal Party is a centrist liberal political party in Norway. The party is the oldest in the country, and has enacted reforms such as parliamentarism, freedom of religion, universal suffrage and free education. Since 2010, the leader of the party is Trine Skei Grande...


With Prime Ministers from other parties:
  • The Government of Lars Korvald
    Lars Korvald
    was a Norwegian politician from the Christian Democratic Party. He was Prime Minister of Norway from 1972 to 1973, leading the cabinet that took over when Trygve Bratteli resigned in the wake of the first referendum over Norway's membership in the European Economic Community.-Early life and...

     (KrF), 1972–73 (coalition of KrF, Sp, and V)
  • The Government of Kåre Willoch
    Kåre Willoch
    Kåre Isaachsen Willoch is a Norwegian politician from the Conservative Party. He served as Minister of Trade and Shipping in 1963 and 1965–1970, and as Prime Minister of Norway from 1981 to 1986...

     (H), 1983–86 (coalition of H, KrF, and Sp)
  • The Government of Jan P. Syse
    Jan P. Syse
    was a lawyer and Norwegian politician from the Conservative Party. He was Prime Minister of Norway from 1989 to 1990. He also served as Minister of Industry from 1983 to 1985...

     (H), 1989–90, (coalition of H, KrF, and Sp)
  • The first Government of Kjell Magne Bondevik
    Kjell Magne Bondevik
    Kjell Magne Bondevik is a Norwegian Lutheran minister and politician . He served as Prime Minister of Norway from 1997 to 2000, and from 2001 to 2005, making him Norway's longest serving non-Labour Party Prime Minister since World War II...

     (KrF), 1997–2000 (minority government coalition of KrF, Sp, and V)
  • The second Government of Jens Stoltenberg
    Jens Stoltenberg
    is a Norwegian politician, leader of the Norwegian Labour Party and the current Prime Minister of Norway. Having assumed office on 17 October 2005, Stoltenberg previously served as Prime Minister from 2000 to 2001....

     (Ap), 2005–present (coalition of Ap
    Norwegian Labour Party
    The Labour Party is a social-democratic political party in Norway. It is the senior partner in the current Norwegian government as part of the Red-Green Coalition, and its leader, Jens Stoltenberg, is the current Prime Minister of Norway....

    , 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
Clover , or trefoil, is a genus of about 300 species of plants in the leguminous pea family Fabaceae. The genus has a cosmopolitan distribution; the highest diversity is found in the temperate Northern Hemisphere, but many species also occur in South America and Africa, including at high altitudes...

. 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. 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
Photobucket is an image hosting, video hosting, slideshow creation and photo sharing website. It was founded in 2003 by Alex Welch and Darren Crystal and received funding from Trinity Ventures. It was acquired by Fox Interactive Media in 2007....

. 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
Common wood sorrel
Common Wood-sorrel is a plant from the genus Oxalis, common in most of Europe and parts of Asia. The binomial name is Oxalis acetosella, because of its sour taste. In much of its range it is the only member of its genus and hence simply known as "the" wood-sorrel...

(gauksyre), 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. The party later released a statement that they would retract the new logo and return to the drawing board.

External links

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