Danish Social Liberal Party

Danish Social Liberal Party
Radikale Venstre
Leader Margrethe Vestager
Chairman Klaus Frandsen
Founded 21 May 1905
Headquarters Christiansborg
1240 København K
Newspaper Radikal Politik
Youth wing Radical Youth
Ideology Social liberalism
Political position Centre[1][2] to Centre-left[3]
International affiliation Liberal International
European affiliation European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party
European Parliament Group no MEPs
Official colours Magenta, blue
17 / 179
European Parliament
0 / 13
7 / 205
50 / 2,468
Election symbol
Politics of Denmark
Political parties

The Danish Social Liberal Party (Danish: Det Radikale Venstre, literally: "The Radical Left", occasionally translated to English as "Radical Liberal Party") is a social liberal[7] political party in Denmark. The party is a member of Liberal International and the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party.



The party was founded in 1905 as a split from the liberal Venstre Reform Party, the primary cause of the split was disagreements about defence policy - the social liberals were antimilitarist. The literal translation radical left is nowadays somewhat misleading, as the party is traditionally described as being in the centre of the left-right political scale. The use of the word for "left" in the name of the former mother party Venstre and the Norwegian party Venstre is meant to refer to liberalism and not left-wing politics. Venstre originally was to the left of the conservative and aristocratic right.

Electoral record

The party president is Klaus Frandsen and it has seventeen members of parliament . By far the most prominent member, however, is political leader and spokesperson Margrethe Vestager.

The party performed well at the 2005 elections. It came out with 9.2% of the popular vote and 17 seats in Parliament, a gain of eight seats. In the 2007 elections, the party share of the popular vote fell to 5.1% and it lost 8 seats, leaving it a total of 9. In the subsequent 2011 elections, the party support rose to 9.5%, and it regained 8 seats to resume a total of 17.

Lately the party has been inspired by Richard Florida's book The Rise of the Creative Class. The party have also released their own book/political program called "Det kreative Danmark" (The Creative Denmark).

Current issues high on the agenda for the party are:

  • Strong opposition to the tight immigration policies of the former Liberal-Conservative government, particularly the 24 year rule (a measure that prevents foreign spouses of Danish citizens from gaining residence permits if either is under the age of 24, officially to avoid forced marriages).
  • Opposition to the educational policies of the former Liberal-Conservative government, which according to the party stresses centralisation, nationalised testing and old-fashioned educational ideas over creativeness, methodical freedom of teachers and personal development of pupils.
  • A major tax reform, which should simplify the tax system in such a way that income taxes will be reduced in favour of more environmental taxes, less tax deductions and higher taxes on real estate. The point of this is to make working more attractive and the hiring of service workers more attractive. This implies that the party is also opposed to the Liberal-Conservative government's "tax freeze" (skattestop) which prohibits any tax increases, but also changes of the taxation pattern.

Internal conflicts

In 2007 some prominent members of the party criticised the strategy as being too left-leaning and depending too much on the Social Democrats.[citation needed]

On 7 May 2007, MP Naser Khader and MEP Anders Samuelsen announced that they had left the party to found the economic liberal New Alliance, later renamed the Liberal Alliance,[8] party along with Conservative MEP Gitte Seeberg.

During the following debate the party first distanced itself from the Social Democrats, but after being criticised internally for that too, returned to an oppositional role.

On 6 January 2009 MP Simon Emil Ammitzbøll also left the party and founded a new party called Borgerligt Centrum (Civic Centre), again as a centre-right alternative. In June 2009 he left the Borgerligt Centrum and joined Liberal Alliance.[9]

2007 elections

At a press release on 15 June 2007, it was announced that MP Margrethe Vestager would take over the leadership of the party after Marianne Jelved, and that the party would rethink its strategy and will now consider forming a coalition government with either the left or right side of parliament.[10]

Vestager clarified during the run-up to the 2007 election that her party would only be supporting a government led by the Social Democrats. In the 2007 parliamentary elections, it received 5.1% of the vote, and 9 out of 179 seats.

2011 elections

In the 2011 parliamentary election, in which it ran as part of the "Red Bloc" with the Social Democrats, Socialist People's Party, and Red-Green Alliance, it received 9.5% of the votes and went from 9 to 17 seats, almost doubling its share of votes and of seats in the Folketing.

The party joined the new centre-left government lead by incoming Prime Minister and Social Democrat leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt following the 2011 elections.

Relationships to other parties

The party has traditionally kept itself in the centre of the political scale, however since the nineties, it has cooperated mainly with the Social Democrats, and thus supported the left side of the parliament. During the 2007 election, the possibility of cooperating with Liberal-Conservative government has been a major source of debate inside the party, but was rejected by the parliamentary group leader Margrethe Vestager.[source?] During the 2011 elections, the party maintained their support of the Social Democrats, but also made clear that they would cooperate across the centre.

Prominent members

Prime Ministers

  • Carl Theodor Zahle, Prime Minister 1909–1910 and 1913–1920, (Minister of Justice 1929–1935)
  • Erik Scavenius, Prime Minister 1942–1945 (In reality only until 29 August 1943), (Foreign Minister 1909–1910, 1913–1920 and 1940–1945 (1943) )
  • Hilmar Baunsgaard, Prime Minister 1968–1971, Trade Minister 1961–1964

Other Ministers

  • Edvard Brandes, Finance Minister 1909–1910 and 1913–1920
  • Christopher Krabbe, Defence Minister 1909–1910
  • P. Munch, Minister of the Interior 1909–1910, Defence Minister 1913–1920, Foreign Minister 1929–1940
  • Poul Christensen, Agriculture Minister 1909–1910
  • Ove Rode, Minister of the Interior 1913–1920
  • J. Hassing-Jørgensen, Minister for Public Works 1913–1920
  • Kristjan Pedersen, Agriculture Minister 1913–1920
  • Bertel Dahlgaard, Minister of the Interior 1929–1940, Minister for Economic Affairs and Minister for Nordic Co-operation 1957–1960
  • Jørgen P.L. Jørgensen, Education Minister 1935–1940, 1942–1942, 1957–1960, Minister of the Interior 1942–1943
  • A.M. Hansen, Education Minister 1945-1945
  • Kjeld Philip, Trade Minister 1957–1960, Finance Minister 1960–1961, Minister for Economic Affairs 1961–1962
  • Karl Skytte, Agriculture Minister 1957–1964
  • A.C. Normann, Fishery Minister 1960–1964, Fishery Minister and Minister for Greenland 1968–1971
  • Helge Larsen, Education Minister 1968–1971
  • Lauge Dahlgaard, Labour Minister 1968–1971
  • Jens Bilgrav-Nielsen, Energy Minister 1988–1990
  • Kristen Helveg Petersen, Education Minister 1961–1964, Minister of Culture 1968–1971
  • Niels Helveg Petersen, Minister for Economic Affairs 1988–1990, Foreign Minister 1993–2000
  • Ole Vig Jensen, Minister of Culture 1988–1990, Education Minister, 1993–1998, Church Minister, 1996–1998
  • Lone Dybkjær, Minister for the Environment 1988–1990
  • Aase Olesen, Social Minister 1988–1990
  • Marianne Jelved, Minister for Economic Affairs 1993–2001 and Minister for Nordic Co-operation 1994–2001
  • Ebbe Lundgaard, Minister of Culture 1996–1998
  • Margrethe Vestager, Education Minister 1998–2001, Church Minister 1998–2000
  • Johannes Lebech, Church Minister 2000–2001
  • Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen, Minister of Culture 1998–2001
  • Anita Bay Bundegaard, Development Minister 2000–2001

Unofficial political leaders

Identical with parliamentary group leaders in the Folketing except when the party was in government, and in certain periods there were forms of co-leadership[citation needed]. The time periods are disputable[citation needed] but they may be argued to be as presented here:



Parliamentary group leaders

Parliamentary group leaders in the Folketing:


Party chairmen

  • 1905–1915, Jørgen Hald
  • 1915–1920, Kristen Tovborg Jensen
  • 1920–1922, Anders Larsen
  • 1922–1924, Erik Scavenius
  • 1924–1929, Niels Peter Andreasen
  • 1929–1936, Martin Sørensen
  • 1936–1937, N. C. Andersen
  • 1937–1960, Hans Jeppesen
  • 1960–1964, Helge Pedersen
  • 1964–1971, Søren Bjerregaard
  • 1971–1974, Asger Baunsbak-Jensen
  • 1974–1976, Gunnar Skov Andersen
  • 1976–1978, Kresten Helveg Petersen
  • 1978–1991, Thorkild Møller
  • 1991–1993, Grethe Erichsen
  • 1993–1997, Margrethe Vestager
  • 1997–2000, Johannes Lebech
  • 2000–2001, Lone Loklindt (acting)
  • 2001–2009, Søren Bald
  • 2009–, Klaus Frandsen

See also


  1. ^ Bulley, Jennifer (27 May 2011), "Social Libs looking for last laugh in property tax feud", The Copenhagen Post, http://www.cphpost.dk/news/politics/90-politics/51708-social-libs-looking-for-last-laugh-in-property-tax-feud.html?tmpl=component&page=, retrieved 30 June 2011 
  2. ^ Danish parties agree on tougher border controls, Reuters, 11 May 2011, http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/05/11/uk-denmark-politics-talks-idUKTRE74A7QP20110511, retrieved 30 June 2011 
  3. ^ Möller-Holtkamp, Vera (9 May 2007), Denmark's New Party Aims to Shake Up the Far Right, DW World, http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,2482789,00.html, retrieved 30 June 2011 
  4. ^ "Danmarks Radio Resultatet". http://www.dr.dk/Nyheder/Temaer/2011/Valg/Resultater/resultater.htm. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  5. ^ "AKVA3: Valg til regions råd efter område, parti og stemmer/kandidater/køn". Statistics Denmark. http://www.statistikbanken.dk/akva3. Retrieved 13 June 2010. 
  6. ^ "VALGK3: Valg til kommunale råd efter område, parti og stemmer/kandidater/køn". Statistics Denmark. http://www.statistikbanken.dk/valgk3. Retrieved 13 June 2010. 
  7. ^ Parties-and-elections.de
  8. ^ Changeing name
  9. ^ Ammitzbøll to Liberal Alliance Borgerligt Centrum is not closed!
  10. ^ a b Haahr, Ulla (15 June 2007). Vestager ny radikal dronning (Danish). Danmarks Radio. Retrieved on 2007-12-11.
  11. ^ Bille, Lars (1997), Partier i forandring, Odense Universitetsforlag, ISBN 87-7838-314-5.
  12. ^ Larsen, Helge (1980), Det Radikale Venstre i medvind og modvind, Tidens Tankers Forlag.
  13. ^ Lund, Joakim (2003), Partier under pres, Gyldendal, ISBN 87-02-02174-9.
  14. ^ Rasmussen, Erik & Roar Skovmand (1955), Det Radikale Venstre 1905–1955, Det danske Forlag.
  15. ^ a b Pedersen, Sune; Lidegaard, Bo (eds.) (2005). B radikalt 1905–2005 (Danish). Copenhagen: Gyldendal, p. 392-93. ISBN 87-02-03315-1.

External links

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