KrF in other languages
The Christian Democrats (KrF) has a vision of building an open society based on Christian and humanistic values in which responsible and value oriented citizens serve each other. As politicians we can encourage a society that:
- protects life and human dignity, equality and diversity
- respects our material and spiritual needs
- promotes sustainable development, and includes everyone in a more just distribution of resources
- is characterized by love for our fellow neighbors, and solidarity with the poor and persecuted in other countries
The Christian Democrats (Kristelig Folkeparti, KrF) was founded in 1933, as a reaction to the growing secularism in Norway in the 1930's. KrF emphasized cultural and spiritual values and aimed to be an alternative to political parties focusing on material values. KrF's first leader, Nils Lavik, was elected to Parliament just a couple of months after the party was founded.
The years of Nazi occupation during World War 2 caused interest among the voters for policies based on Christian values. KrF gained nationwide support in 1945, the first elections after the war, winning eight seats in the Parliament.
KrF became part of a short-lived non-socialist coalition government along with Høyre (Conservative Party), Venstre (Liberal Party) and Senterpartiet (Centre Party) in 1963. At the elections of 1965, these four parties won a majority of seats in the Parliament and ruled in a coalition government from 1965 to 1971.
KrF opposed Norwegian membership in the European Community ahead of the referendum in 1972. The referendum gave a no-vote, and when the pro-EC Labor government resigned, a coalition government was formed among the anti-EC parties, KrF, Venstre and Senterpartiet. Lars Korvald became KrF's first prime minister. The government sat for one year, until the elections of 1973.
In the 1970s, the debates over abortion became increasingly important, and KrF experienced the party's best election results until then with more than 12 percent of the votes.
During the 1980s, KrF also showed the party's ability to cooperate with other parties. From 1983 to 1986, and from 1989 to 1990, KrF was part of coalitions with Høyre and Senterpartiet.
In the 1990s, KrF worked hard on opening the party and to show that the core political issues could have an appeal among larger groups of voters. In 1997, the party achieved its best result ever, with 13.7 percent of the votes and 25 members of Parliament.
After the elections KrF formed a government with Venstre and Senterpartiet, lead by the party's former leader Kjell Magne Bondevik. After two and a half years, this centrist government resigned because it refused to accept that a majority in Parliament wanted to build polluting gas-fired power plants. It was the first time a Norwegian government resigned on an environmental issue.
In the elections in 2001, KrF received 12.4 percent of the votes. This time KrF formed a centre-right government with the Høyre and Venstre, with Kjell Magne Bondevik returning as Prime Minister.
In the 2005-elections, KrF obtained 6.8 percent of the votes and 11 members of Parliament. The party then entered a period of opposition to a red-green government that would last until 2013.
The List of party leaders
Nils Lavik (1938-51)
Erling Wikborg (1951-55)
Einar Hareide (1955-67)
Lars Korvald (1967-75)
Kåre Kristiansen (1975-77)
Lars Korvald (1977-79)
Kåre Kristiansen (1979-83)
Kjell Magne Bondevik (1983-95)
Valgerd Svarstad Haugland (1995-2004)
Dagfinn Høybråten (2004-2011)
Knut Arild Hareide (2011-)
The Christian Democrats (KrF) has approximately 35 000 members. The supreme body of the party is the Party Congress which is held every second year and which consists of members elected from each of the 19 counties. The Congress elects a leader and two deputy leaders, and five other members to the Central Board, which also includes representatives from the Youth Party, the Women's League and the Parliamentary Group.
The Central Board meets at least five times a year. The National Board is the highest body of the party between each Congress and normally meets three times a year. It consists of the members of the Central Board, the leaders of the 19 counties, two additional members of the Youth Party, the Women's League and the Parliamentary Group. The staff also has one seat in the central board and one in the National Board, it is customary that these refrain from engaging in political discussion, focusing rather on organizational matters.
The Executive Committee consists of the leader, the deputy leaders and the leaders of the Youth Party, the Women's League and the Parliamentary Group, and handles issues that cannot wait for the next Central Board meeting.
Each of the 19 counties has a county board with a leader and two deputy leaders. The rest of the board in each county are either elected directly, or consists of the leaders of the local branches. KrF has active local branch organizations in approximately 320 of Norway's 431 municipalities. The local branches are chaired by a local branch leader, leading 4-5 ordinary board members. Their main function is having regular contact with the members of the party and supporting any elected officials KrF might have in the area with political input and suggestions.
The Norwegian Christian Democratic Party is a member of the Centrist Democrats International and an observer in the European People's Party. The party is also cooperating closely with Christian Democratic parties in the other Nordic countries.
Our values and ideology
KrF builds its policies on the Christian Democratic ideology. This means that KrF is a value-based party, not an interest-based party for the interests of a narrow group of people. The Christian view of man as a person created with social, spiritual and cultural needs forms the basis of all our policies. It commits us, to not only fight for fair distribution of resources, but also actively give power to and support the smaller communities in society.
A Christian view of man implies that each human being has an infinite value, which is not possible to measure, and which does not depend on sex, ethnical origin or age. Human beings have some inviolable rights from conception to natural death. Each human being has a unique intrinsic value, and this excludes any exploitation that makes human beings only a means to achieve other people's goals.
Love of your Fellow Neighbor is based on the view that all human beings have the same value. This implies a radical and unlimited solidarity with our fellow human beings. A society that recognizes the equal value of all human beings cannot be passive when there is suffering. This solidarity applies to all fellow humans and knows no boundaries.
Stewardship implies that the resources of the Earth and society around us must be cared for the best of, not only present, but also future generations. Human beings should create sustainable development and the Earth's resources must be handled in accordance with the view that all human beings have the same intrinsic value.
A value oriented ideology
What most clearly defines Christian Democracy is its value orientation. While Socialism and Liberalism focus on structures and systems, Christian democrats believe that the good society is guided by values. The Christian Democratic ideology is not a clearly defined structure, but a number of ideas and principles that form the basis of political views and choices.
While Liberalism focuses on the freedom of the individual, and Socialism sees man as a part of a collective, Christian Democracy sees man as both an individual human being, and as part of a community. The value of man is independent of the community and nobody can be sacrificed for the good of society. But we are also social creatures who are dependent on fellowship with others.
Socialism and Liberalism both have materialistic views of man. The Christian Democratic ideology however, says that human beings are not merely biological individuals, but creatures of spirit, with religious and cultural needs. Materialistic views of man are often based on the idea that man is basically good, as long as certain materialistic needs are fulfilled. Christian Democracy rejects this notion and believes that man will always have the potential of being both good and evil.
Because there are no perfect human beings, there cannot be any perfect ideologies, political parties or societies. Christian Democracy rejects all totalitarian ideologies that claim to know the whole truth. Political ideologies that do not take into account that man is imperfect may easily end up using violent means to reach their "perfect society".
It is necessary to have a humble attitude to the possibilities of politics. There must be clear limits stating what is the role of politics and what is not. The principle of man's imperfection makes Christian Democracy a force of reform. When no society is perfect, there will always be a need to question old truths, try new solutions to problems and expose injustice.
Subsidiarity and solidarity
The principle of subsidiarity is a principle of dividing power. It states that all political decisions should be made at the most suitable level of decision making, but preferably at the lowest level possible. Furthermore, everyone affected by a decision should have the opportunity to influence the process of decision making. The principle of subsidiarity is balanced by the principle of solidarity. This principle sees the community as a unit of solidarity, where all parts of the unit are responsible for each other. This implies an obligation and a right for political structures to intervene into the civil society, undertaking the responsibility for issues exceeding its core areas of responsibility when necessary. We need a balance between the two principles to ensure a society where both the demand for the state to secure the welfare of its citizens, and the demand for a limitation of the state's right to intervene are met.
A well functioning interaction between culture and nature is a necessary condition for a sustainable society. All political decisions must build on the basic idea in the saying "better safe than sorry". This will prevent actions not consistent with the ideas of sustainable development, and make it possible for generations to come to derive benefits from a clean environment and natural resources.
The difference between religion and politics
The Christian Democrats are inspired by the Bible and by Christian tradition, yet it is important to maintain that religion and politics exist on two different levels. Salvation is the goal of religion, whereas the goal of politics is to create a good society for all, regardless of religious conviction. The aim of the Christian Democratic ideology is democracy in which diversity and the respect for individuals and their different choices are among the most important values. Conversion and giving moral guidance is the task of churches and other religious communities.