Labour Party (Norway)
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Labour Party Norway

Labour Party
LeaderJonas Gahr Støre
Parliamentary leaderJonas Gahr Støre
Founded22 August 1887; 134 years ago (22 August 1887)
HeadquartersYoungstorget 2 A, 5th floor Oslo
Youth wingWorkers' Youth League
Membership (2019)Decrease 50,067[1]
Political positionCentre-left[2] to left-wing[3][4]
European affiliationParty of European Socialists
International affiliationProgressive Alliance
Nordic affiliationSAMAK
The Social Democratic Group
Colours  Red
Slogan"Alle skal med"
("Everyone will be included")
County councils[5]
Municipal councils[6]
Sámi Parliament

The Labour Party (Bokmål: Arbeiderpartiet; Nynorsk: Arbeidarpartiet; A/Ap; Northern Sami: Bargiidbellodat), formerly The Norwegian Labour Party (Norwegian: Det norske Arbeiderparti, DNA), is a social-democratic[7][8][9][10][11] political party in Norway. It is positioned on the centre-left of the political spectrum,[2] and is currently led by Jonas Gahr Støre. It was the senior partner of the governing red-green coalition from 2005 to 2013 and its leader Jens Stoltenberg served as the prime minister.

The Labour Party is officially committed to social democratic ideals. Its slogan since the 1930s has been "everyone shall take part" and the party traditionally seeks a strong welfare state, funded through taxes and duties.[12] Since the 1980s, the party has included more of the principles of a social market economy in its policy, allowing for privatisation of state-owned assets and services and reducing income tax progressivity, following the wave of economic liberalisation during the 1980s. During the first Stoltenberg government, the party's policies were inspired by Tony Blair's New Labour agenda in the United Kingdom and saw the most widespread privatisation by any government in Norway to that date.[13] The party has frequently been described as increasingly neoliberal since the 1980s, both by political scientists and opponents on the left.[14] The Labour Party profiles itself as a progressive party that subscribes to co-operation on a national as well as international level. Its youth wing is the Workers' Youth League. The party is a member of the Party of European Socialists and the Progressive Alliance. It was formerly member of the Comintern (1919-1923), the International Revolutionary Marxist Centre (1932-1935), the Labour and Socialist International (1938-1940) and the Socialist International (1951-2016). The Labour Party has always been a strong supporter of Norwegian NATO membership and has supported Norway joining the European Union during two referendums[15]. During the Cold War, when the party was in government most of the time, the party closely aligned Norway with the United States at the international level and followed an anti-communist policy at the domestic level in the aftermath of the 1948 Kråkerøy speech and culminating in Norway becoming a founding member of NATO in 1949.[16]

Founded in 1887, the party steadily increased in support until it became the largest party in Norway at the 1927 parliamentary election, a position it has held ever since. That year also saw the consolidation of conflicts surrounding the party during the 1920s following its membership in the Comintern. It first formed a government in 1928 and has led the government for all but sixteen years since 1935. From 1945 to 1961, the party had an absolute majority in the Norwegian Parliament, to date the last time this has happened in the history of Norway. The electoral domination by the Labour Party during the 1960s and early 1970s was initially broken by competition from smaller left-wing parties, primarily from the Socialist People's Party. From the late 1970s, the party started to lose voters due to a rise in right-wing parties, leading to a swing to the right for the Labour Party under Gro Harlem Brundtland during the 1980s. In 2001, the party achieved its worst results since 1924. Between 2005 and 2013, Labour returned to power after committing to a coalition agreement with other parties in order to form a majority government.[12] Since losing nine seats in 2013, Labour has been in opposition. The party lost a further six seats in 2017, yielding the second-lowest number of seats Labour has held since 1924. At the 2021 election, the party lost one seat, but as it and the other left-wing parties gained a majority over the right, its leader Jonas Gahr Støre is expected to become Prime Minister of Norway.


The party headquarters in Oslo

The party was founded in 1887[17] in Arendal and first ran in elections to the Storting in 1894. It entered the parliament in 1903 and steadily increased its vote until 1927, when it became the largest party in Norway. The party were members of Communist International (Comintern), a communist organisation, between 1918 and 1923.[18]

From the establishment of Vort Arbeide in 1884, the party had a growing and notable organisation of newspapers and other press outlets. The party press system eventually resulted in Norsk Arbeiderpresse (Norwegian Labour Press, now A-pressen). In January 1913, the party had 24 newspapers and six more newspapers were founded in 1913. The party also had the periodical Det 20de Aarhundre.[19] In 1920, the party had 33 newspapers and 6 semi-affiliated newspapers.[20] The party had its own publishing house, Det norske Arbeiderpartis forlag, succeeded by Tiden Norsk Forlag. In addition to books and pamphlets, Det norske Arbeiderpartis forlag published Maidagen (annual May Day publication), Arbeidets Jul (annual Christmas publication) and Arbeiderkalenderen (calendar).[21]

From its roots as a radical alternative to the political establishment, the party grew to its current dominance through several eras. The party experienced a split in 1921 caused by a decision made two years earlier to join the Comintern and the Social Democratic Labour Party of Norway was formed. In 1923, the party left the Comintern while a significant minority of its members left the party to form the Communist Party of Norway. In 1927, the Social Democrats were reunited with Labour. Some Communists also joined Labour whereas other Communists tried a failed merger endeavor which culminated in the formation of the Arbeiderklassens Samlingsparti.

In 1928, Christopher Hornsrud formed Labour's first government, but it lasted only two weeks. During the early 1930s, Labour abandoned its revolutionary profile and set a reformist course. Labour then returned to government in 1935 and remained in power until 1965 (except for the World War II exile period between 1940-1945 and one month in 1963). During most of the first twenty years after World War II, Einar Gerhardsen led the party and the country. He is often referred to as Landsfaderen (Father of the Nation) and is generally considered one of the main architects of the rebuilding of Norway after World War II. This is often considered the golden age of the Norwegian Labour Party. The party was a member of the Labour and Socialist International between 1938 and 1940.[22] In 1958, two Workers' Youth League members (Berge Furre and Kåre Sollund) contacted MPs of the Labour Party to have MPs sign a petition as a part of what is known as the Easter Uprising of the Labour Party.[23] All the MPs who signed, except one, later retracted their signatures.[23]

Other periods of the Labour Party's leadership of the national government have been 1971-1972, 1973-1981, 1986-1989, 1990-1997 and 2000-2001. In the 2001 Norwegian parliamentary election, the party reached a low point of 24.3% of the popular vote, but it was still the largest party in the Storting. In the 2005 Norwegian parliamentary election, the party regained support and received 32.7% of the popular vote. It was the leading partner in the centre-left red-green coalition which won a majority in the 2005 Norwegian parliamentary election. Labour leader Jens Stoltenberg became prime minister and lead a coalition government, the first coalition government that the Labour Party has entered. Stoltenberg was previously prime minister from 2000 to 2001.

In 2011, the party changed its official name from the Norwegian Labour Party (Det norske arbeiderparti) to the Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet). The party claimed there had been confusion among voters at polling stations because of the difference between the official name and the common use name of Labour Party. The name change caused Arbeiderpartiet to appear on the ballot, eliminating any potential confusion.[24][25] On 22 July 2011, a terrorist opened fire at the Labour Party's youth camp (ages 13-25), killing 69 people and killing 8 more in Oslo by a bomb towards a government building (which was led by the Labour Party).

In the 2013 Norwegian parliamentary election, the party-led coalition lost the election, but Labour remained the largest party in the Storting. This election ended the nearly ten years rule of Stoltenberg, who remained the party leader until he stepped down to be appointed Secretary General of NATO. Jonas Gahr Støre was chosen as new party leader on 14 June 2014.[26] In 2017, the party was targeted by hackers suspected to be from Russia.[27]


As of 2015, the party has about 56,000 members.[28] They are organised at county level, municipality level and in about 2,500 local associations.[29] The party had about 200,500 members at its peak in 1950.[30]

The supreme body of the party is the Party Congress which is held every two years. The highest body in between the congresses is the National Delegate's Meeting which is made up of the Executive Board and two delegates from each of the 19 counties.[29]

The executive board consists of 16 elected members as well as the leadership of the party.[29] As of 2015, the leadership is party leader Støre, deputy leaders Hadia Tajik and Trond Giske and general secretary Kjersti Stenseng. The party has varied between having one of two deputy leaders

Since 2005, the party has a policy requiring full gender parity at each level of the organisation above ordinary membership.[31]

The party's youth organisation is the Workers' Youth League and there is a network for women within the party.[31] The party participates in elections to the Sami Parliament of Norway and work related to this has its own organisational structure with seven local groups, a bi-yearly congress, a national council and the Labour group in the Sami parliament.[32]

Party leaders

Jonas Gahr Støre, current party leader since 2014
  1. Anders Andersen (1887-1888)
  2. Hans G. Jensen (1888-1889)
  3. Christian Holtermann Knudsen (1889-1890)
  4. Carl Jeppesen (1890-1892)
  5. Ole Georg Gjøsteen (1892-1893)
  6. Gustav A. Olsen-Berg (1893-1894)
  7. Carl Jeppesen (1894-1897)
  8. Ludvig Meyer (1897-1900)
  9. Christian Holtermann Knudsen (1900-1903)
  10. Christopher Hornsrud (1903-1906)
  11. Oscar Nissen (1906-1911)
  12. Christian Holtermann Knudsen (1911-1918)
  13. Kyrre Grepp (1918-1922)
  14. Emil Stang jr. (1922-1923)
  15. Oscar Torp (1923-1945)
  16. Einar Gerhardsen (1945-1965)
  17. Trygve Bratteli (1965-1975)
  18. Reiulf Steen (1975-1981)
  19. Gro Harlem Brundtland (1981-1992)
  20. Thorbjørn Jagland (1992-2002)
  21. Jens Stoltenberg (2002-2014)
  22. Jonas Gahr Støre (2014-present)

Labour Prime Ministers

Campaign booth at Karl Johans gate ahead of the 2007 Norwegian local elections
  1. Christopher Hornsrud (January-February 1928)
  2. Johan Nygaardsvold (1935-1945)[a]
  3. Einar Gerhardsen (1945-1951)
  4. Oscar Torp (1951-1955)
  5. Einar Gerhardsen (1955-1963)
  6. Einar Gerhardsen (1963-1965)
  7. Trygve Bratteli (1971-1972, 1973-1976)
  8. Odvar Nordli (1976-1981)
  9. Gro Harlem Brundtland (February-October 1981, 1986-1989, 1990-1996)
  10. Thorbjørn Jagland (1996-1997)
  11. Jens Stoltenberg (2000-2001, 2005-2013)

Electoral results

Date Votes Seats Position Size
# % ± pp # ±
1894 520 0.3 New
New Extra-parliamentary 4th
1897 947 0.6 Increase 0.3
Steady Extra-parliamentary Steady 4th
1900 7,013 3.0 Increase 2.4
Steady Extra-parliamentary Steady 4th
1903 22,948 9.7 Increase 6.7
Increase 5 Opposition Decrease 5th
1906 43,134 15.9 Increase 6.2
Increase 5 Opposition Increase 3rd
1909 91,268 21.5 Increase 5.6
Increase 1 Opposition Decrease 4th
1912 128,455 26.2 Increase 4.7
Increase 12 Opposition Increase 2nd
1915 198,111 32.0 Increase 5.8
Decrease 4 Opposition Decrease 3rd
1918 209,560 31.6 Decrease 0.4
Decrease 1 Opposition Steady 3rd
1921 192,616 21.3 Decrease 10.3
Increase 11 Opposition Steady 3rd
1924 179,567 18.4 Decrease 2.9
Decrease 5 Opposition Steady 3rd
1927 368,106 36.8 Increase 18.4
Increase 35 Opposition[b] Increase 1st
1930 374,854 31.4 Decrease 5.4
Decrease 12 Opposition Steady 1st
1933 500,526 40.1 Increase 8.7
Increase 22 Opposition (1933-1935) Steady 1st
Minority (from 1935)
1936 618,616 42.5 Increase 2.4
Increase 1 Majority Steady 1st
1945 609,348 41.0 Decrease 1.5
Increase 6 Coalition (1945, Ap-H-V-Sp-NKP) Steady 1st
1949 803,471 45.7 Increase 4.7
Increase 9 Majority Steady 1st
1953 830,448 46.7 Increase 1.0
Decrease 8 Majority Steady 1st
1957 865,675 48.3 Increase 1.6
Increase 1 Majority Steady 1st
1961 860,526 46.8 Decrease 1.5
Decrease 4 Minority (1961-1963) Steady 1st
Opposition (1963)
Minority (from 1963)
1965 883,320 43.1 Decrease 3.7
Decrease 6 Opposition Steady 1st
1969 1,004,348 46.5 Increase 3.4
Increase 6 Opposition (1969-1971) Steady 1st
Minority (1971-1972)
Opposition (from 1972)
1973 759,499 35.3 Decrease 11.2
Decrease 12 Minority Steady 1st
1977 972,434 42.3 Increase 7.0
Increase 14 Minority Steady 1st
1981 914,749 37.1 Decrease 5.2
Decrease 11 Opposition Steady 1st
1985 1,061,712 40.8 Increase 3.7
Increase 6 Opposition (1985-1986) Steady 1st
Minority (from 1986)
1989 907,393 34.3 Decrease 6.5
Decrease 8 Opposition (1989-1990) Steady 1st
1993 908,724 36.9 Increase 2.6
Increase 4 Minority Steady 1st
1997 904,362 35.0 Decrease 1.9
Decrease 2 Opposition (1997-2000) Steady 1st
Minority (2000-2001)
2001 612,632 24.3 Decrease 10.7
Decrease 22 Opposition Steady 1st
2005 862,456 32.7 Increase 8.4
Increase 18 Coalition (Ap-Sp-SV) Steady 1st
2009 949,060 35.4 Increase 2.7
Increase 3 Coalition (Ap-Sp-SV) Steady 1st
2013 874,769 30.8 Decrease 4.6
Decrease 9 Opposition Steady 1st
2017 801,073 27.4 Decrease 3.4
Decrease 6 Opposition Steady 1st
2021 782,177 26.4 Decrease 1.0
Decrease 1 TBD Steady 1st


  1. ^ During the German occupation of Norway from 1940 to 1945, Johan Nygaardsvold was in exile to London.
  2. ^ Briefly in government from 28 January 1928 to 15 February 1928 until the cabinet was defeated on a vote of no confidence. See Hornsrud's Cabinet.


  1. ^ "Medlemstall" [Members number]. Arbeiderpartiet (in Norwegian). 25 March 2020.
  2. ^ a b Jonathan Olsen (2010). "The Norwegian Socialist Left Party: Office-seekers in the Service of Policy?". In Jonathan Olsen; Michael Koß; Dan Hough (eds.). Left Parties in National Governments. Palgrave Macmillan UK. p. 16. ISBN 9780230282704.
  3. ^ "Norway election: Conservative PM concedes after left-wing opposition victory". Deusche Welle. 14 September 2021. The left-wing Labor Party, along with two other center-left parties, could manage to reach a majority of 89 seats out of 169 in total.
  4. ^ Victoria Klesty (14 September 2021). "Norway's left-wing opposition wins in a landslide, coalition talks next". Reuters.
  5. ^ "Valg 2011: Landsoversikt per parti" [Election 2011: Country overview per party] (in Norwegian). Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development. Archived from the original on 24 September 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  6. ^ "Arbeidarpartiet" [Labour Party]. Valg 2011 (in Norwegian). Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2011.
  7. ^ Nordsieck, Wolfram (2017). "Norway". Parties and Elections in Europe. Retrieved 2018.
  8. ^ Christina Bergqvist (1 January 1999). Equal Democracies?: Gender and Politics in the Nordic Countries. Nordic Council of Ministers. p. 320. ISBN 978-82-00-12799-4.
  9. ^ David Arter (15 February 1999). Scandinavian Politics Today. Manchester University Press. p. 71. ISBN 978-0-7190-5133-3. Retrieved 2013.
  10. ^ Ari-Veikko Anttiroiko; Matti Mälkiä (2007). Encyclopedia of Digital Government. Idea Group Inc (IGI). p. 389. ISBN 978-1-59140-790-4.
  11. ^ Richard Collin; Pamela L. Martin (2012). An Introduction to World Politics: Conflict and Consensus on a Small Planet. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 218. ISBN 978-1-4422-1803-1.
  12. ^ a b NRK. "Arbeiderpartiet - Ørnen i Norge". NRK. Retrieved 2015.
  13. ^ "Avskjed mellom linjene". (in Norwegian Bokmål). Retrieved 2021.
  14. ^ Myten om Gros nyliberalisme, Dagbladet
  15. ^ "Polittiken - EU". (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2021.
  16. ^ Haakon Lie, Norsk biografisk leksikon
  17. ^ Svennik Hoyer. "The Political Economy of the Norwegian Press" (PDF). Scandinavian Political Studies. Danish Royal Library: 85-141. Retrieved 2014.
  18. ^ "Hva historien forteller.. 1920 - 1935". Arbeiderpartiet. Archived from the original on 17 January 2011. Retrieved 2013.
  19. ^ Bjørnson, Øyvind (1990). På klassekampens grunn 1900-1920. Volume two of Arbeiderbevegelsens historie i Norge (in Norwegian). Oslo: Tiden. p. 276. ISBN 82-10-02752-2.
  20. ^ Maurseth, Per (1987). Gjennom kriser til makt 1920-1935. Volume three of Arbeiderbevegelsens historie i Norge (in Norwegian). Oslo: Tiden. p. 65. ISBN 82-10-02753-0.
  21. ^ Maurseth, 1987: p. 66
  22. ^ Kowalski, Werner. Geschichte der sozialistischen arbeiter-internationale: 1923 - 19. Berlin: Dt. Verl. d. Wissenschaften, 1985. p. 310.
  23. ^ a b N.K. -
  24. ^ "Slutt på Det norske Arbeiderparti". Aftenposten. Archived from the original on 12 April 2011. Retrieved 2015.
  25. ^ Arbeiderpartiet skifter navn Dagbladet. 9 April 2011.
  26. ^ Westerveld, June; Salvesen, Geir (14 June 2014). "- Jeg har følt et intenst vemod". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2014.
  27. ^ Standish, Reid (3 October 2018). "The New Cold Front in Russia's Information War". Foreign Policy. Archived from the original on 4 October 2018. Last year, hackers targeted the country's Labour Party--currently in opposition but a staunch supporter of Norway's NATO membership--in an attack believed to have been orchestrated from Russia.
  28. ^ Høyre har mistet hvert tiende medlem (in Norwegian) E24.
  29. ^ a b c Information in English Archived 18 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 18 April 2015. Archive.
  30. ^ Røed, Lars-Ludvig (7 January 2009). "Lengre mellom partimedlemmene i dag". Aftenposten. Archived from the original on 30 December 2010.
  31. ^ a b Arbeiderpartiet. "Kvinnebevegelsen / Aps historie / Historien / Om AP - Arbeiderpartiet". Retrieved 2015.
  32. ^ Samepolitisk arbeid (in Norwegian) Retrieved 18 April 2015

External links

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