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Christian Democratic Party (Norway)

Christian Democratic Party
Leader Knut Arild Hareide
Parliamentary leader Hans Olav Syversen
Founded 4 September 1933
Headquarters Øvre Slottsgate 18–20
0154 Oslo
Youth wing Young Christian Democrats
Membership 35,030 (2010)[1]
Ideology Christian democracy[2]
Social conservatism[3]
Soft euroscepticism[4]
Political position Centre[5][6][7]
International affiliation Centrist Democrat International
European affiliation European People's Party (observer)
Colours Yellow
10 / 169
County Councils[8]
47 / 728
Municipal / City Councils[9]
656 / 10,781
Sami Parliament
0 / 39
Politics of Norway
Political parties

The Christian Democratic Party (Bokmål: Kristelig Folkeparti, Nynorsk: Kristeleg Folkeparti, KrF), is a Christian democratic[10] political party in Norway founded in 1933. The Norwegian name literally translates to Christian People's Party. The name may also be translated as "The People's Christian Party".

The party follow their European counterparts in many ways, arguing that the state should care for its citizens but not get otherwise economically involved. In the late 1990s they positioned themselves as a family-friendly party. The party is an observer member of the European People's Party (EPP).

Knut Arild Hareide is the current leader of the party. Their leader from 1983 to 1995, Kjell Magne Bondevik, was one of the most prominent political figures in modern Norway, serving as Prime Minister from 1997 to 2000 and 2001 to 2005. Under the old leadership of Bondevik and Valgerd Svarstad Haugland, the party was to some extent radicalized and moved towards the left. Due largely to their poor showing in the 2009 elections, the party has seen a conflict between its conservative and liberal wings over which direction their political ideology should look to in the future.[11]


  • Political views 1
  • History 2
  • Voter base 3
  • Table of parliamentary election results 4
  • List of party leaders 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7
  • References 8

Political views

In social policy the Christian Democratic Party generally have conservative opinions. On life issues, the party opposes euthanasia, and abortion, though it can support abortion in cases of rape or when the mother's life is at risk. The party supports accessibility to contraception as a way of lowering abortion rates.[12] They also want to ban research on human fetuses, and have expressed skepticism for proposals to liberalize the biotechnology laws in Norway.[13] Bondevik's second government made the biotechnology laws of Norway among the strictest in the World, with support from the Socialist Left Party and the Centre Party, but in 2004 a case regarding a child with thalassemia brought this law under fire.[14][15] On gay rights issues, the party supports possibilities for gay couples to live together, but opposes gay marriage and gay adoption rights. The party maintains neutrality on the issue of gay clergy, calling that an issue for the church.[16]

Since the party was established, a declaration of Christian faith was required for a person to be a representative in the party. Membership had no such requirement. The increase of support from other religions, including Islam, stimulated efforts to abolish this rule.[17] At the 2013 convention the rule was modified. The new rules require that representatives work for Christian values but do not require them to declare a Christian faith.[18] This latter point was considered the "last drop" for some conservative members of the party, who as a result broke away and founded The Christians party, which won 0.6% of the votes in the 2013 election.[19]


KrF was founded as a reaction to the growing secularism in Norway in the 1930s. Cultural and spiritual values were proposed as an alternative to political parties focusing on material values. The immediate cause of its foundation was the failure of Nils Lavik, a popular figure in the religious community, to be nominated as a candidate for Venstre (the liberal party), for the parliamentary elections in 1933. In reaction to this, Kristelig Folkeparti was set up, with Lavik as their top candidate in the county of Hordaland. He succeeded in being elected to Stortinget, the Norwegian parliament. No other counties were contested. At the next elections, in 1936, the party also ran in Bergen, and succeeded in electing a representative from there as well. In 1945, at the first elections after the Nazi occupation of Norway, the party was organised on a nationwide basis, and won 8 seats.

KrF became part of a short-lived non-socialist coalition government along with Høyre (Conservatives), Venstre and Senterpartiet (Center Party) in 1963. At the elections of 1965, these four parties won a majority of seats in Stortinget and ruled in a coalition government from 1965 to 1971.

KrF opposed Norwegian membership in the European Community ahead of the referendum in 1972. The referendum gave a no-vote, and when the pro-EC Labour government resigned, a coalition government was formed among the anti-EC parties, KrF, Venstre and Senterpartiet. Lars Korvald became KrF's first prime minister for a year, until the elections of 1973 restored the Labour government.

The party's historic membership numbers peaked with 69,000 members in 1980.[20]

The 1981 elections left the non-socialists with a majority in parliament, but negotiations for a coalition government failed because of disagreement over the abortion issue.[21] However, this issue was later toned down, and from 1983 to 1986, and from 1989 to 1990 KrF was part of coalitions with Høyre and Senterpartiet.

In 1997 KrF received 13.7% of the votes, and got 25 seats in the Storting. Kjell Magne Bondevik served as prime minister in 1997-2000, in coalition with Venstre and Senterpartiet, and then in 2001-2005 with Venstre and Høyre.

In the 2005 election KrF received only 6.8%, and the party became part of the opposition in the Storting.

Voter base

Geographically, the Christian Democrats enjoy their strongest support on the south coast. In the 2005 elections, their best results were in Vest-Agder with 18.9% of the vote, compared to a national average of 6.8%.[22]

As a party centered around Christian values, the party obviously draws support from the Christian population. Their policies supporting Christian values, and opposing same-sex marriage appeal to the more conservative religious base. The main rival in the competition for conservative Christian votes has been the Progress Party.[23]

KrF has also sought support among the Muslim minority in Norway, pointing to their restrictive policies on alcohol and pornography, although party's support for Israel concerns several Muslim voters.[24]

Table of parliamentary election results

Support for KrF in the counties of Norway at the Norwegian parliamentary elections of 2005.
Campaign booth on Karl Johans gate ahead of the Norwegian local elections, 2007.
Date Votes Seats Position Size Notes
# % ± pp # ±
1933 10,272 0.8 New
1 / 150
Increase 1 Opposition 7th
1936 19,612 1.3% + 0.5
2 / 150
Increase 1 Opposition 5th
1945 117,813 7.9% + 6.6
8 / 150
Increase 6 Opposition 6th
1949 147,068 8.4% + 0.5
9 / 150
Increase 1 Opposition 5th
1953 186,627 10.5% + 2.1
14 / 150
Increase 5 Opposition 4th
1957 183,243 10.2% - 0.3
12 / 150
Decrease 2 Opposition 5th
1961 171,451* 9.6%* - 0.6
15 / 150
Increase 3 Opposition 4th government in 1963
1965 160,331* 8.1%* - 1.5
13 / 150
Decrease 2 Government 5th
1969 169,303* 9.4%* + 1.3
14 / 150
Increase 1 Government 4th opposition 1971 to 1972
1973 255,456* 12.3%* + 2.9
20 / 155
Increase 6 Opposition 4th
1977 224,355* 12.4%* + 0.1
22 / 155
Increase 2 Opposition 3rd
1981 219,179* 9.4%* - 3.0
15 / 155
Decrease 7 Opposition 3rd government from 1983
1985 214,969 8.3% - 1.1
16 / 157
Increase 1 Government 3rd opposition from 1986
1989 224,852 8.5% + 0.2
14 / 165
Decrease 2 Government 5th opposition from 1990
1993 193,885 7.9% + 0.6
13 / 165
Decrease 1 Opposition 5th
1997 353,082 13.7% + 5.8
25 / 165
Increase 12 Government 3rd opposition from 2000
2001 312,839 12.4% - 1.3
22 / 165
Decrease 3 Government 5th
2005 178,885 6.8% - 5.6
11 / 169
Decrease 11 Opposition 5th
2009 148,748 5.5% - 1.3
10 / 169
Decrease 1 Opposition 3rd
2013 158,475 5.6% + 0.0
10 / 169
Steady 0 Opposition 4th
  • * The Christian Democratic Party ran on joint lists with other parties in a few constituencies from 1961 to 1981. Vote numbers are from independent Christian Democratic lists only, while vote percentage also includes the Christian Democratic Party's estimated share from joint lists (Statistics Norway estimates).[25]

List of party leaders

Further reading

  • Madeley, John T.S. (2004). Steven Van Hecke; Emmanuel Gerard, eds. Life at the Northern Margin: Christian Democracy in Scandinavia. Christian Democratic Parties in Europe Since the End of the Cold War (Leuven University Press). pp. 217–241.  

External links

  • (Norwegian) Official web site
  • Election results for the Christian Democratic Party in the 2007 local elections


  1. ^ "KrF mister medlemmer". VG Nett (NTB) (in Norwegian). 2 September 2010. Retrieved 2 September 2010. 
  2. ^ Oyvind Osterud (18 October 2013). Norway in Transition: Transforming a Stable Democracy. Routledge. pp. 114–.  
  3. ^ "Political parties". CivicActive. Retrieved 27 January 2010. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Hva står de politiske partiene for?". Nasjonal Digital Læringsarena. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Valg 2011: Landsoversikt per parti" (in Norwegian).  
  9. ^ "Kristeleg Folkeparti". Valg 2011 (in Norwegian).  
  10. ^ T. Banchoff (28 June 1999). Legitimacy and the European Union. Taylor & Francis. pp. 126–.  
  11. ^ Gjerde, Robert (15 February 2010). "Nestleder vil skrote KrFs Israel-politikk". Aftenposten (Stavanger). 
  12. ^ KrF on life protection and abortion ( (Norwegian)
  13. ^ KrF on bio- and genetic technology ( (Norwegian)
  14. ^ Mehmet gets stem-cell dispensation Aftenposten, December 10, 2004
  15. ^ Stillheten etter Mehmet (The quiet after Mehmet) VG, September 1, 2005
  16. ^ KrF on gay rights ( (Norwegian)
  17. ^ Sporstøl, Ellen (May 2, 2009). "Høybråten ønsker seg muslimer" (in Norwegian). TV2 nyhetene. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  18. ^ Grøttum, Eva-Therese; Johnsen, Nilas. "Nå har KrF droppet kristenkravet". Dagbladet (in Norwegian) (26 April 2013). Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ Røed, Lars-Ludvig (7 January 2009). "Lengre mellom partimedlemmene i dag". Aftenposten. 
  21. ^ National Archival Services of Norway (Norwegian)
  22. ^ "Stortingsvalet 2005. Godkjende røyster, etter parti/valliste og kommune. Prosent" (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå. 2005. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  23. ^ Fondenes, Eivind (September 1, 2009). "- Høybråten tjener på homo-motstand". TV2 nyhetene. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  24. ^ Archer, Else Karine (August 14, 2009). "Tror på Allah, stemmesanker for KrF" (in Norwegian). NRK. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  25. ^
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