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 in an environmental issue.
During 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.
During the conservative led government of 2013 – 2017, KrF was in constructive opposition and provided parliamentary support for the government budgets during this period. KrF continued in the same position after the reelection of the Høyre-led government in 2017. In 2018, KrF held an internal party debate about whether to seek government cooperation with either Høyre or Arbeiderpartiet. The decision was eventually made during an extraordinary national congress, where a small majority voted in favor of joining the Høyre-led government. In Febuary 2019, KrF joined a majority coalition government with Venstre, Høyre and Fremskrittspartiet. It was the first time KrF had been in government since 2005.
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 (2011-2019)
Kjell Ingolf Roptad (2019-)