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(Danmarks Liberale Venstre, Liberal Left Party of Denmark), a Danish party that expresses the interest of the big and medium landholders and owners of factories in the food industry. It was founded in 1870 by C. Berg.
Venstre formed a government for the first time in 1901 and remained in power until June 1913. In 1905, Venstre’s left wing, which consisted mainly of small peasants, split off from the party to form the Radical Party. Between the two world wars Venstre held power twice—in 1920-24 and in 1926-29. During the fascist German occupation of Denmark (1940-45), representatives of Venstre were members of the governments (1940-43) that collaborated with the occupation forces. After the liberation of the country, Venstre formed a one-party government (1945-47); in 1950-53 it shared governmental power with the Conservatives and Radicals.
According to its 1963 program, Venstre is for freedom of private enterprise, including freedom in matters of the sale of agricultural produce, and for the reduction of land taxes. In the realm of foreign policy Venstre advocates Denmark’s continuing membership in NATO. In 1970 the party had 136,000 members and 34 seats in parliament. The supreme body in Venstre is the annual conference; between conferences it is the administrative board. P. Hartling has been party chairman since 1965. The party’s central organ is the newspaper Fyns Tidende.
REFERENCESAagaard, F. Venstres historic Copenhagen, 1949.
Winding, K. Danmarks historie, 2nd ed. 1961.
A. S. MIRONOV
(Norwegian venstre, “left”), a political party in Norway representing the petite and middle bourgeoisie and part of the intelligentsia. It arose in 1859-60 as a petit-bourgeois democratic bloc and was reorganized as an official party in 1884. Its founder was J. Sverdrup. It held the leading position in the political life of the country and almost without interruptions formed governments until 1920. From the 1920’s its influence decreased, although until 1935 it remained, with some interruptions, the ruling party of the country. After World War II (1939-45), Venstre’s influence continued to decline; it did not participate in the formation of a government until 1963. In 1963 and 1965 the Venstre representatives formed part of the coalition bourgeois governments.
In its program of aims adopted at the party’s congress in April 1961, Venstre proclaimed the need to create “a harmonious society affording legal, social, and economic security.” Venstre supports the continued participation by Norway in NATO. The left wing of the party is opposed to the further consolidation of military and political ties with NATO and more particularly with the Federal Republic of Germany.
The party had a membership of about 90,000 in 1970 and had 13 representatives in the Storting. Its supreme organ is its annual congress and between congresses, its executive committee. Its chairman from 1970 to November 1972 was H. Seip. Its semiofficial newspaper is Dagbladet.
G. K. IVANOV