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Danish Liberal Party, 202
Variables and Codes for 1950-1962
For the concepts and variables below, use these links to Political Parties: A Cross-National Survey:
Governmental Status
Issue Orientation
Goal Orientation
Organizational Complexity
Organizational Power
Organizational Coherence
Membership Involvement
The "ac" code is for "adequacy-confidence"--a data quality measure ranging from 0 (low) to 9 (high)

Institutionalization Variables
, 1.01-1.06
1.01 Year Of Origin And 1.02 Name Changes
1870, AC9
0, AC9
Various groups of "liberals" were active in Danish politics throughout the 1800's but the Venstre was formed in 1870, when the farmers took over the Society of Farmer's Friends from the National Liberals and transformed it into a political party. There have been no name changes since the party's formation.
1.03 Organizational Discontinuity
4, AC9
Knud Kristensen, former Venstre leader, formed a new party (the Independents) in 1953. There is no evidence that this was anything but a minor split. Supporters of Thorkhil Kristensen remained in the Venstre as a faction and did not split until 1965. Thus there is only one minor split, and this in the period 1950-56.
1.04 Leadership Competition
9, AC9
The leadership of the party has been in the hands of Erik Eriksen since 1950. However, prior to this time, changes occurred and these changes were overt and were made by the party conference, consisting of over 100 members.
1.05 Legislative Instability
Instability is .07, AC8
The Moderate Liberals claimed about 25 percent of the seats during our period, but its strength dropped somewhat in 1960 to about 20 percent.
1.06 Electoral Instability
Instability is .06, AC8
Based on elections in 1950, 53, 57, and 60, the party's high point was in 1957 when it won 25 percent of the vote.

Governmental Status Variables, 2.01-2.07
2.01 Government Discrimination
0, AC9
There is no evidence of government discrimination for or against the Venstre. The broadcasting service is organized along lines aiming to make it independent of the government. Each party has its own paper, and the state as such does not publish any paper influencing public opinion. The constitution provides that censorship and other preventive measures cannot be introduced.
2.02 Governmental Leadership
4 out of 7 for 1950-56, AC9
0 out of 6 for 1957-62, AC9
The Venstre headed the government from 1950 through 1953, with Erik Eriksen as prime minister.
2.03 Cabinet Participation
4 out of 7 for 1950-56, AC9
0 out of 6 for 1957-62, AC9
The Venstre held cabinet positions only under the government of Erik Eriksen, from 1950 through 1953.
2.04 National Participation
5, AC9
The Venstre does not qualify for the highest score on national orientation because of its weakness in the capital region, although its strength in the capital has been growing since 1950. Venstre receives approximately 34 percent of the popular vote nationally but received only the following percentage of votes in Copenhagen--6.3 percent in 1953, 9.2 percent in 1957, and 6.8 percent in 1960. Venstre's deviance from the gross national average in Copenhagen during our time period was approximately -14.
2.05 Legislative Strength
Strength is .23 for 1950-56, AC8, and .23 for 1957-62 , AC8
The Moderate Liberals claimed about 25 percent of the seats during our period, but its strength dropped somewhat in 1960 to about 20 percent.
2.06 Electoral Strength
Strength is .22 for 1950-56, AC8, and .23 for 1957-62 , AC9.
Based on elections in 1950, 53, 57, and 60, the party's high point was in 1957 when it won 25 percent of the vote.
2.07 Outside Origin
4, AC9
Venstre arose from liberal farmer groups represented in the 19th century Folketing (parliament), known as the friends of the farmers.

Issue Orientation Variables, 5.01-5.15
5.01 Ownership of Means of Production
3, AC7
Although this code best describes the liberal party's stand on this issue, there is no mention in the literature that the party "urges repeal of present regulations."
5.02 Government Role in Economic Planning
3, AC9
Venstre is against government regulation of the economy except in times of crisis or for the regulation of monopolies and price agreements.
5.03 Redistribution of Wealth
1, AC8
In both policy and practice the Liberal Party has opposed legislation that would erode the differences between poor and rich and has proposed legislation favorable to high income groups. However, in Denmark there are no extreme inequalities in wealth and the Venstre party does not seem to favor repeal of most existing egalitarian legislation.
5.04 Social Welfare
3, AC9
Venstre fully supports Denmark's comprehensive welfare system. (23) 5.05 secularization of society 3, AC9
All parties seem to recognize the Evangelical Lutheran Church as the national church and accept state aid and support of it. However, the state's laws are not based on religious prescription and other religions are allowed.
5.06 Support of the Military
1, AC9
Although the liberals have been supportive of spending to insure a strong national defense, domestic programs have always had priority.
5.07 Alignment with East-West Blocs
5, AC9
The Venstre party supports Denmark's membership in NATO.
5.08 Anti-colonialism
3 for 1st half, AC8
0 for 2nd half, AC9
The Liberals supported the 1953 constitution which incorporated Greenland and the Faroes into Denmark, thus ending all Danish colonial territory.
5.09 Supranational Integration
0 for 1st half, AC7
1 for 2nd half, AC9
During the second time period, Venstre strongly favored joining the Common Market. However, Venstre was originally against joining EFTA, the European Free Trade Association. Although formal membership in EFTA was during the second time period, negotiations were in the first half. Therefore, Venstre has been coded for membership in the second half and ambiguous or contradictory in the first.
5.10 National Integration
0, AC7
The general homogeneity of the Danish population makes this variable almost irrelevant for Denmark proper. The Faroe Islands and greenland, however, which have been a part of the "Danish realm" since 1953, have special seats reserved for them in the Folketing (national legislature) and have their own respective governors and legislatures.
5.11 Electoral Participation
5, AC9
Venstre has supported universal suffrage for 23 year olds.
5.12 protection of civil rights
5, AC9
There is no evidence in the literature that the parties disagree on this issue. It is, therefore, considered a settled issue. The constitution of 1953 provides for the protection of civil rights of all Danish citizens.
5.13 Interference With Civil Liberties
5, AC9
The Venstre party supported the 1953 constitution which provided for complete freedom of expression, including the press. Individuals may, however, be held responsible for libel or slander. Television and radio are strictly non partisan. Each of the parties publishes several newspapers. There is no evidence that the parties disagree on this issue.
5.14 / 5.15 US--Soviet Experts Left-Right Ratings
US says 2, center
Soviets say 1, represents the interests of the rural bourgeoisie and large landowners, and receives the support of the liberal circles of the urban bourgeoisie.

Goal Orientation Variables, 6.01-6.55
6.00 Open Competition in the Electoral Process
4, AC9
All evidence within the literature indicates that the party relies exclusively on open competition in the electoral process. It has competed in every election since its formation and has accepted and relinquished government power frequently and without incident.
6.10 Restricting Party Competition
0, AC9
The Venstre relies exclusively on open competition in the electoral process, and it has not attempted to restrict party competition.
6.20 Subverting the Political System
0, AC9
The Venstre relies exclusively on open competition in the electoral process, and it has never engaged in subversion.
6.30 Propagandizing Ideas and Program
6.31--2, AC9.
The Venstre party owns and operates newspapers in Copenhagen and the provinces. Its daily newspapers are Fyns Tidende and Soro Amtstidende.
6 .32--2, AC9.
The Venstre party operates party schools in the sense that it has civic training centers for party workers and other adults with courses of a political and nonpolitical nature. In addition, courses are taught in the people's high schools, through the auxilliary branches of the party, and through special study groups.
6.33--2, AC8.
The Venstre party passes platforms stating policies, orientation on issues and goals, and so forth. A copy of one of these platforms is in the ICPP files.
6.34--2, AC9.
A copy of Venstre's program is in the ICPP files. The party publishes its goals and policies in its program in order to win votes while competing in elections.
6.50 Providing for Welfare of Party Members
6.51--0, AC3.
The literature does not mention the Venstre party engaging in this activity although many other activities are cited. It is assumed that in Denmark, which has a very comprehensive welfare system administered by the government, such activities by the parties would be superfluous.
6.52--0, AC3 .
The literature does not mention the Venstre party engaging in this activity, although many other activities are cited. It is assumed that in Denmark, where unemployment is negligible and employment services are provided by the state, such activities by the parties are superfluous. Since most of Venstre's constituents are involved in agriculture, they are involved with employment problems which may be referred to the farmers' union.
6.53--1, AC3.
Although the literature makes no mention of the Venstre party performing this activity, it seems reasonable that in a society with a comprehensive welfare system covering most aspects of an individual's life, the party would occasionally aid an individual in securing the attention of one of the various agencies to his needs.
6.54--2, AC9.
The liberal party supports nationwide educational associations which offer courses of a nonpolitical nature.
6.55--2, AC9.
The Venstre party sponsors such recreational facilities and services as boy scout groups, summer camps, dancing and other forms of entertainment.

Autonomy Variables, 7.01-7.05
7.01 Sources of Funds
4 (sectors 04, 02), AC8
It is impossible to determine the exact proportion of Venstre's support. However, it is documented that business organizations do make direct and indirect contributions and that agricultural interests help to support Venstre newspapers. The farmers' union, however, prohibits contributions to parties, and it is from farmers that Venstre receives most of its electoral support. Thus 2/3 would be too high an estimate.
7.02 Source of Members
5 (sector 02), AC9
Although the Venstre party is largely supported by farmers, membership in the party is entirely voluntary.
7.03 Sources of Leaders
2 (sectors 02, 03), AC9
Venstre's leaders are generally drawn from the agricultural or educational sectors of society or a combination of the two. Increasingly the leaders are men of higher education who perform some academic function.
7.04 Relations with Domestic Parties
3, AC9
Venstre participated, as the stronger member, in a two-party coalition with the conservatives from 1950-53. From 1953-62 the liberals, still as the stronger member, were in an overt parliamentary alliance ("the opposition") with the conservatives and in tacit electoral alliances in some areas.
7.05 Relations with Foreign Organizations
4, AC9
Although Venstre is affiliated with and pays dues to the Liberal International, this does not seem to affect its national policy orientation. Its membership is mostly for the purpose of exchanging ideas and information with like-minded parties.

Organizational Complexity Variables, 8.01-8.07
8.01 Structural Articulation
11, AC8
The most important administrative agency of the Venstre party is the parliamentary (Folketing) group. Basic governing agencies are the annual conference, the national executive, and a secretariat which works under the direction of the national executive.
8.02 Intensiveness of Organization
5, AC8
The Venstre party has approximately 1,600 local party organizations based on municipal subdivisions or even smaller units.8.03 extensiveness of organization 5, AC6
The Moderate Liberal (Venstre) Party has local organizations in all areas of the country, but their coverage seems weak in the capital electoral region. This information is inferred from electoral data.
8.04 Frequency of Local Meetings
The local units of the Moderate Liberal (Venstre) Party must logically meet at least once a year to select representatives to nominating districts, the annual conference, etc. These units probably meet monthly, but in the entire literature retrieved there is no mention of the frequency of local meetings.
8.05 Frequency of National Meetings
There is no information on the frequency of meetings for the national executive of the Venstre party. It is assumed, however, that it meets more frequently than the annual conference, the legislative assembly of the party.
8.06 Maintaining Records
10, AC6
The Moderate Liberal (Venstre) Party was scored as follows--"2" because of extensive publication of party newspapers--"0" because there is no documentation of the existence of party archives, although it is possible they do exist--"8" for party lists which are presumed to be of good quality because all party members must register and are assessed dues according to registration records.
8.07 Pervasiveness of Organization
6, AC8
The youth organization of the Moderate Liberal Party (Venstre Ungdom) is Denmark's largest political organ for young people with 50,000 members in 130 local units. The Venstre party also sponsors a women's organization. Although considered the party of the farming interests, Venstre has no ancillary organization specifically aimed at the agricultural section.

Organizational Power Variables, 9.01-9.08
9.01 Nationalization of Structure
6, AC9
The Liberal (Venstre) Party has a discernible party hierarchy in which the national executive acts directly on the local (constituency and county) organizations, bypassing the regional organizations. The actual "power" resides in the Folketing group whose decisions are communicated down through the party hierarchy by the national executive. It should be noted, however, that the Venstre national organization is weaker vis-a-vis the local levels than is true for other Danish parties.
9.02 Selecting the National Leader
4, AC9
The leader of the Venstre parliamentary group and the national chairman are the same individual. He holds his position as national chairman, however, due to his elected leadership as the Folketing-group chairman. He is elected by the national organization to the party chairmanship after the Folketing group has designated him as their leader.
9.03 Selecting Parliamentary Candidates
5, AC9
Although the official rules of the Venstre party state that the local organizations have complete control of the selection of candidates, unofficially the national executive may (infrequently) exert some control over the process, generally in the form of refusal to accept a particular candidate or type of candidate.
9.04 Allocating Funds
6, AC5
Although the literature contains some information on the source of Venstre's funds, it inadequately explains actual collection and distribution procedures. Generally, contributions are made to the national organization which, it is assumed, dispenses said funds. However, some contributions are made directly to provincial newspapers supporting the Venstre party, and some lesser funds are collected and distributed by the legislative party group.
9.05 Formulating Policy
6, AC9
In the Venstre party it is the Folketing (parliamentary) party organization that determines policy positions. If such decisions are referred to a vote in the executive committee, it is only as a gesture.
9.06 Controlling Communications
7, AC9
The Venstre party press, which publishes daily and periodical newspapers throughout Denmark, is represented on the highest official levels of the party organization. Although the party owns the press, some papers may occasionally oppose party policy on a given issue.
9.07 Administering Discipline
3, AC9
The parliamentary organization of the Venstre party administers most discipline to members. Such discipline may include exclusion from committees or other posts, being kept from speakerships, or loss of campaign funds. Expulsion is possible but almost unknown, however, it did occur after our time period.
9.08 Leadership Concentration
3, AC7
Throughout the period 1958-1962, the Venstre party was headed by Erik Eriksen who was both parliamentary group chairman and national party chairman. He did not, however, demonstrate one man rule of the party.

Coherence Variables, 10.01-10.06
10.01 Legislative Cohesion
.95, AC7
The above figure for the cohesiveness of the Venstre parliamentary party group is an approximation. The literature generally declares the party to be highly cohesive and attempts to explain instances when it is not. Few authors, however, provide quantitative data. Out of 1,049 divisions between 1953-1963 there were only 49 instances where one or two members voted against their party and only 19 instances when more than two Venstre Folketing members voted against the party. There are no roll call votes in Denmark.
10.02 Ideological Factionalism
0, AC9
The Moderate Liberal (Venstre) Party suffered several instances of factionalism during 1950-1962. However, these do not seem to be ideological differences but issue, strategic, and leadership factions. There are vague references in the literature attesting that liberal constituents hold to a stricter interpretation of party program than do the legislators, but these are insufficiently documented.
10.03 Issue Factionalism
3 for 1950-1956, AC9
0 for 1957-1962, AC9
For more than a year a small faction in the Moderate Liberal Party led by Knud Kristensen opposed the passing of a new Danish constitution. When the party sponsored and passed the new constitution in 1953, Knud Kristensen and his group left the party to form the independent party. Although the liberal debate faction formed within the Venstre party in the second time period opposed the party on some issues, the impetus for the faction seemed to be tactical and personal.
10.04 Leadership Factionalism
0 for 1950-1956, AC9
4 for 1957-1962, AC9
Thorkhil Kristensen, as a leader of the Venstre party, often differed with the party leadership before 1957. However, it is in the second time period that his followers organized themselves into a sizable faction. This faction, known as "liberal debate," reached "large" proportions only after our time period. After 1960, Kristensen left the party and refused to be recognized as the leader of "liberal debate" although that group still considered him their leader.
10.05 Strategic or Tactical Factionalism
0 for 1st half, AC9
4 for 2nd half, AC9
During the second time period a faction of Venstre members formed an elaborate organization called "liberal debate." This group, inspired by Thorkhil Kristensen, opposed leader Erik Eriksen's close cooperation with the Conservative Party, favoring a more flexible approach and possible cooperation with the governing parties to the exclusion of the Conservatives.
10.06 Party Purges
0, AC9
Although there were no purges during our time period, it is interesting to note that in 1965 the liberal national executive voted to replace the existing 1,500 member Copenhagen party organization which was controlled by the "liberal debate" faction. To this coder's knowledge, it is the only such political expulsion in Danish party history.

Involvement Variables, 11.01-11.06
11.01 Membership Requirements
3, AC8
To become a member of the Venstre party, an individual must register, sign a card, and pay annual dues. The payment of dues is mentioned more frequently in the literature than are the other requirements.
11.02 Membership Participation
2, AC5
There is little documentation of this code in the literature, although it is clear that the code should be less than "3." The coder's "guess" is that if attendance at youth and women's organizations and at social and educational events sponsored by the Venstre party were included, the code would be a "2." If only regular party meetings were considered, the code would probably be "0."
11.03 Material Incentives
0, AC3
Although the Venstre party, as one of the four main parties in the Folketing, has political jobs to dispense it is doubtful that as much as 1/3 of the party's militants are motivated for this reason. These jobs are considered more of a reimbursement for business income lost during political service. In general, party militants seem to be moved by solidarity and purposive rather than material incentives.
11.04 Purposive Incentives
3, AC3
Purposive incentives seem to be the primary motivation for individual militants to join and remain as members in the Moderate Liberal (Venstre) Party.
11.05 Doctrinism
1, AC9
The Moderate Liberal (Venstre) Party's program embodies the party's doctrine and may at times be considered a referent for decisions. During the second time period the party's leader, Erik Eriksen, made frequent reference to the program in his criticism of Thorkhil Kristensen, who was voting "pragmatically." However, references to party doctrine have never been "continual."
11.06 Personalism
0, AC9
There is no evidence in the literature that Moderate Liberal (Venstre) Party militants are motivated by personalism. Some members of the "liberal debate" faction preferred Thorkhil Kristensen's leadership to that of the party leader, but when kristensen resigned from the party his followers remained in the party. Their objections to party leader Eriksen were mainly over strategy.