The History of Høyre

Høyre, The Norwegian Conservative Party, was founded in 1884 after the parliamentary system was introduced in Norway.

Emil Stang was elected the first leader of the party. Under his leadership, important principles for the work in Høyre were drawn up. Høyre was to be a social party of reforms that worked within the constitutional frames set by a parliamentary democracy. Høyre’s support has varied quite a lot. In the 1981-election, Høyre got 31,7%. It was the best election since 1924. The result in 1993 was 17%. This election was influenced by the EU membership issue. The 1997 parliamentary election resulted in the lowest support since 1945, with only 14,3% of the votes. Høyre has since then seen increased popular support, and got 21,3% in the 1999 local elections and 21,2% in the 2001 parliamentary election.

Høyre has always supported a policy that aims at stimulating growth in order to avoid unemployment and raise economic strength to solve necessary tasks in our society. Economic strength is required to build adequate health and social care, and by so doing give everybody the necessary security.

Around the turn of the century Høyre took the initiative to construct a modern communications network. After the First World War it was mainly a task for Høyre to work for the reconstruction of sound, economic politics. The vast difficulties in the economy at that time is best illustrated by the following example; In 1923 the Høyre government passed the resolution of introducing old-age insurance. Until 1936, however, the State’s finances were not good enough to defend the realisation of this reform.

As the leading party in opposition in the post-war years Høyre fought against the Labour Party’s regulating policy. Høyre wanted a stronger stimulation of private initiative and creative forces. Høyre has been a protagonist in the construction of the welfare system in this country, and has on several occasions taken initiative to correct injustices in social care regulations. Additionally Høyre has advocated that the State’s activity must concentrate on its basic problems and their solutions.

During the post-war years Høyre has consolidated its position as a party with appeal to all parts of the nation. Non-socialist co-operation as an alternative to socialism has always been one of Høyre’s main aims. Høyre has led several coalition governments. The Christian Democrats was one of our coalition partners both in 1983-1986 and 1989-90.

At the parliamentary election in 1993 it was impossible to present a credible non-socialist government alternative because our former coalition parties, The Christian Democrats and the Centre Party both campaigned strongly against Norwegian membership in the EU.

Before the parliamentary election in 1997 the Labour party proclaimed that they would not be willing to govern the country if they did not obtain more than 36,9% of the votes. As it turned out, they got 35%, and other parties had to form government. Originally, there were serious discussions between Høyre, The Christian Democrats and Venstre to take on this task, but the end result was that the two latter parties joined forces with the Centre Party to create a minority government without Høyre.

In the parliamentary election in September 2001, Høyre obtained 21,2 percent of the votes. After a series of discussions Høyre was once again able to take part in a coalition government, this time with the Christian Democratic Party (KrF), and the Liberal Party (V). The total percentage obtained for these three parties at last general election was 37,5. Høyre, as the largest party in the coalition government, had 38 members in the present Storting, and 10 of the 19 ministers in the Government were Høyre representatives. Our three focal areas this period were to establish a rise in quality in our educational system, lowered taxes and a higher service level in state sectors.

In the 2005 parliamentary election, Høyre obtained 14.1 percent of the votes. The election outcome put Høyre back in opposition, and the party got 23 members in the present Storting.

In the 2009 parliamentary election, Høyre obtained 17,2 percent of the votes, and 30 members in the present Storting.