Norway - Background

Governments of Norway, 1945-present
Year Prime Minister Party composition
1945 Einar Gerhardsen DNA, V, H, BP, NKP, HF
1945 Einar Gerhardsen DNA
1949 Einar Gerhardsen DNA
1951 Oscar Torp DNA
1953 Oscar Torp DNA
1955 Einar Gerhardsen DNA
1957 Einar Gerhardsen DNA
1961 Einar Gerhardsen DNA
1963 John Lyng H, KRF, V, SP
1963 Einar Gerhardsen DNA
1965 Per Borten SP, H, V, KRF
1969 Per Borten SP, H, V, KRF
1971 Trygve Bratteli DNA
1972 Lars Korvald KRF, SP, V
1973 Trygve Bratteli DNA
1976 Odvar Nordli DNA
1977 Odvar Nordli DNA
1981 Gro Harlem Brundtland DNA
1981 Kåre Willoch H
1983 Kåre Willoch H, SP, KRF
1985 Kåre Willoch H, SP, KRF
1986 Gro Harlem Brundtland DNA
1989 Jan P. Syse H, KRF, SP
1990 Gro Harlem Brundtland DNA
1993 Gro Harlem Brundtland DNA
1996 Thorbjørn Jagland DNA
1997 Kjell Magne Bondevik KRF, SP, V
2000 Jens Stoltenberg DNA
2001 Kjell Magne Bondevik KRF, H, V
2005 Jens Stoltenberg DNA, SV, SP
2009 Jens Stoltenberg DNA, SV, SP
2013 Erna Solberg H, FRP


Note: First party indicates Prime Minister's party affiliation.

DNA: Norwegian Labour Party (Det Norske Arbeiderparti)
V: Liberal Party (Left) (Venstre)
H: Conservative Party (Right) (Høyre)
BP: Agrarian Party (Bondepartiet). Renamed SP in 1959.
NKP: Communist Party of Norway (Norges Kommunistiske Parti)
HF: Home Front (Hjemmefronten)
KRF: Christian Democratic Party/Christian People's Party (Kristelig Folkeparti)
SP: Centre Party (Senterpartiet)
SV: Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)

Norwegian history at a glance

Norway has a history closely linked to that of its immediate neighbours Sweden and Denmark. The three countries unified in the personal Kalmar Union in 1397, but while Sweden broke away from the union in 1523, Norway lost its sovereign status and became a Danish province in 1536. The era under Danish rule was marked by the reformation (1537), the warfare between Denmark and Sweden (1596-1720), royal absolutism (1660) and economic prosperity (18th century).

At the turn of the 18th century, the emergence of an urban middle class that questioned the state's economic policy and demanded a Norwegian national bank and university resulted in a national reawakening. The so-called “400-Years Night” came to an end in 1814 when Norway was ceded to Sweden as a result of Denmark-Norway’s participation on the losing side in the Napoleonic Wars. However, the agreement reached in Kiel provided for a limited Norwegian independence: a separate constitution, representative assembly and government. Fractions from the social and political Norway gathered in Eidsvold and adopted the constitution on May 17. In disagreement with the Kiel Treaty, they also elected the Danish prince Christian Fredrik as king. Sweden responded by waging a war on Norway. The dispute was, however, peacefully solved as Christian Fredrik relinquished his claims to the Norwegian throne, the Swedish king endorsed the Eidsvold Constitution and a loose personal union was established. Economic growth was followed by increased political awareness, which resulted in the introduction of parliamentarism in 1884, thus making the Norwegian government reliable upon the parliament (Storting) rather than the Swedish king. The union was finally dissolved in 1905 and the declaration of independency was followed by the crowning of a Danish prince as King Haakon of Norway.

In the period 1905-1940, the Norwegian society transformed from a primarily agrarian to an urban industrial society. The earliest decade was also marked by the Norwegian neutrality in World War I and by large-scale emigration to the US. The 1920s saw the Norwegian Labour Party increasingly becoming the predominant force in Norwegian politics, and the period lasting from 1940 to the 1960s has accordingly been descibed by historians as the epoch of the "one-party-state".

While again claiming neutrality, Norway was invaded and occupied by German forces during World War II. In the early years after the war, the country encompassed extensive economic reconstruction. The discovery of significant oil deposits in the Norwegian North Sea in the 1960s facilitated a speedy economic developement. The Norwegian people have twice voted down Norwegian EU membership, first in 1972 and latest in 1994, but a close relationship to the EU has developed through the membership in the European Economic Area (EEA).


Norwegian Government: Norway's Governments since 1945

PolSys - Data on the Political System: Norwegian Governments (1814-present)

Inter-Parliamentary Union: PARLINE database on national parliaments

K. Heidar and E. Berntzen (1998). Vesteuropeisk politikk: Partier, regjeringsmakt, styreform. Oslo: Kunnnskapsforlaget.