Progress Party (Norway)
The Progress Party (Norwegian: Fremskrittspartiet, FrP) is a political party in Norway, representing capitalism, European liberalism and conservative values. Per the Norwegian parliamentary elections of 2005 and 2009, the Progress Party is Norway's second largest political party, currently being in opposition together the other right-wing parties. Norway's left-leaning government narrowly defeated a splintered center-right opposition in the September 2009 elections. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg's ruling Labor Party government came under challenge by Siv Jensen and her right-wing populist Progress Party, which has gained support by calling for lowering Norway's notoriously high taxes and tightening immigration rules. Debate centered on how to manage the Nordic welfare state's oil wealth.
Anders Lange's Party
The Progress Party was founded as Anders Lange's Party For Heavy Reduction Of Governmental Power And Taxations, more common Anders Lange's Party (ALP), in 1973 by Anders Lange. The party was a protest party, but gained support from a political stance that wasn't already fully covered by The Conservative Party. The party fell under criticism of supporting Front National de Liberté (FNL) in Vietnam, and the apartheid regime in South Africa. Anders Lange's Party came into the Storting already in 1973 (with 4 mandates), giving the etablished parties a real shock.
Carl I. Hagen's leadership
After Lange's death in 1974, the party changed its name to the Progress Party, and the party had various chairman until 1978, when Carl I. Hagen was elected. During Hagen's leadership, the Progress Party raised from 4,5 percent of the votes in 1981, to 22 percent in 2005. The largest "jump" was in 1989, giving the party 20 more seats than in the election in 1985. Though, the party dropped down to 6 percent of the votes already in 1993. Since then, the growth has been stabile.
Vote of no confidence against Willoch's government
The Progress Party supported (but wasn't a part of) the right-wing government led by Kåre Willoch (Conservative), but was the reason that the government had to leave its offices when the Progress Party opposed the government's suggested increasement of petroleum prices, and then the government failed a vote of confidence in 1986. Carl I. Hagen wrote that he really regret what he led the party to do, one of reasons was that the Government of Norway was mainly ruled by the Labour Party until 1997, with a short break of a right-wing government with Jan P. Syse (Conservative) as Prime Minister in 1989–1990. The party was too weak in the mid-90's to end Brundtland's rule any earlier.
New party chairman
Siv Jensen was elected chairman of the Progress Party in 2006, after Hagen's 22 years of leadership. Jensen failed to be given chairwoman or leader as title, and had to continue as chairman. The Progress Party hasn't, despite its popularity, never been in government position, which led to Jensen demanding that the party won't support any government after the election in 2009, without being a part of this. The demand has pushed the other right-wing parties to include the Progress Party in any new government; Lars Sponheim (Liberal) has denied a cooperation, and the Christian Democrats have not given any answer. The Conservative Party has stated that the party will work for a unifying right-wing government in 2009, including all right-wing parties.
- Populism. The party has since its founding been attacked for being populistic, which can explain the party's varying results in elections. Various politicians and scientists within political studies have agreed on this. Such criticism have, however, been most common from Martin Kolberg (Labour) and Erik Solheim (Socialist Left), but also Kjell Magne Bondevik (Christian Democrat), Prime Minister 1997–2000 and 2001–2005.
- See Karl Ritter, "Norway election focused on oil wealth," AP Sept. 14, 2009
- Fremskrittspartiet (Progress Party), English
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