Path: Table of Contents > Essay on Party Politics > Party 203
Danish Conservative Party, 203
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
1915, AC9
0, AC9
Although the Conservative Party's roots may be traced to the old Right (Hojre) Party, 1915 is accepted as its date of origin as a modern popular party. This party disavowed the goals of the old Hojre Party. There were no name changes.
1.03 Organizational Discontinuity
0, AC7
Although some conservative voters may have aligned with the Independent Party, formed in 1953, the literature does not regard this as a split in the Conservative Party.
1.04 Leadership Competition
15, AC9
The Conservative Party elects a national chairman who is a mere figurehead. The real leadership lies with the Folketing group's leader who is referred to in the literature as the "Conservative Party leader." During our time period these leaders have been Ole Bjorn Kraft until 1955, Aksel Moller from 1955 to 1958, and Poul Sorensen from 1958 to 1962.
1.05 Legislative Instability
Instability is .03, AC8
The Conservatives never held more than 20 percent of the seats during our time period.
1.06 Electoral Instability
Instability is .03, AC8
Based on elections in 1950, 53, 57, and 60, the party got 17 or 18 percent of the vote in each case.

Governmental Status Variables, 2.01-2.07
2.01 Government Discrimination
0, AC9
There is no indication of government discrimination for or against the Conservative Party. The constitution of Denmark provides that censorship and other preventive measure cannot be introduced and the state as such does not publish any paper influencing public opinion.
2.02 Governmental Leadership
0 out of 7 for 1950-56, AC9
0 out of 6 for 1957-62, AC9

The Conservative Party never held government leadership during either time period.
2.03 cabinet participation
4 out of 7 for 1950-56, AC9
0 out of 6 for 1957-62, AC9
The Conservative Party held cabinet posts in a coalition with the Venstre party in the 1950-1953 government of Venstre's leader, Erik Eriksen. The cabinet posts were split about equally between Venstre and Conservative Party members.
2.04 National Participation
6, AC8
Although the Conservatives are strongest in the electoral region containing Copenhagen and weakest in the Jutland region, which is primarily rural, its low deviation from the national average allows it a score of "6."
2.05 Legislative Strength
Strength is .17 for 1950-56, AC8, and .17 for 1957-62, AC8
The Conservatives never held more than 20 percent of the seats during our time period.
2.06 Electoral Strength
Strength is .17 for 1950-56, AC8 and .17 for 1957-62, AC9
Based on elections in 1950, 53, 57, and 60, the party got 17 or 18 percent of the vote in each case.
2.07 Outside Origin
4, AC9
The Conservative Party arose from the Hojre Party legislators who were members of the Folketing in the nineteenth century.

Issue Orientation Variables, 5.01-5.15
5.01 Ownership of Means of Production
5, AC9
Although this code best describes the Conservative Party's stand on this issue, there is no mention in the literature of the party "urging repeal of present regulations."
5.02 Government Role in Economic Planning
5, AC9
The Conservative Party vigorously defends private enterprise. It feels that the state should both protect property rights and demand that property rights exercise their responsibilities to the society. The party has never had to put their program into practice so they are scored only on their policy.
5.03 Redistribution of Wealth
1, AC8
The Conservative 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 Conservative Party does not seem to favor repeal of existing egalitarian legislation.
5.04 Social Welfare
3, AC9
The Conservative Party accepts Denmark's system of mixed voluntary and compulsory social welfare. There is evidence, however, that the Conservative Party does not desire increased welfare legislation.
5.05 Secularization of Society
3, AC9
All parties, including the Conservative Party, seem to support the recognition of the Evangelical Lutheran Church as the national church and accept state aid and support of it. Other religions are legally practiced in Denmark, and the state's laws are not based on religious prescription.
5.06 Support of the Military
3, AC6
In program and practice the Conservative Party has advocated a strong defense (Thomas, 1973--45).
5.07 Alignment With East-West Blocs
5, AC9
The Conservative Party supports Danish membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
5.08 Anti-colonialism
3 for 1st half, AC9
0 for 2nd half, AC9
The Conservative Party supported the 1953 constitution which incorporated Greenland and the Faroe Islands into Denmark, thus ending all Danish colonial territory.
5.09 Supranational Integration
1, AC9
The Conservative Party favored Danish membership in both the European Free Trade Association and the Common Market (EEC) if Britain joined. Although these units did not exist prior to 1957, Danish membership in OECC and the desire to enter a free trade association did.
5.10 National Integration
0, AC7
The general homogeneity of the Danish population makes this variable basically irrelevant for Denmark proper. The Faroe Islands and Greenland, however, which are 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 legislators.
5.11 Electoral Participation
5, AC9
The Conservative Party has supported universal suffrage with a voting age of 21.
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 Conservative 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 nonpartisan, but parties are allowed to express opinions on an equal time basis. Each of the parties publishes several newspapers. The parties do not seem to disagree on this issue.
5.14 / 5.15 US--Soviet Experts Left-Right Ratings
US says 1, conservative
Soviets say 1, represents the interests of industrial and financial capital and also major landowners and upper civil servants.

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 Conservative Party relies exclusively on open competition in the electoral process. The party has competed in every election since their formation in 1915 and have (as the minor party in a coalition with Venstre) accepted and relinquished government power without incident.
6.10 Restricting Party Competition
0, AC9
The Conservative Party relies exclusively on open competition in the electoral process.
6.20 Subverting the Political System
0, AC9
The Conservative Party relies exclusively on open competition in the electoral process.
6.30 Propagandizing Ideas and Program
6.31--2, AC9.
The Conservative Party owns and/or operates several newspapers including the following daily newspapers--Berlingske Tidende, National Tidende, Randers Amtsavis, Uyllandsposten.
6.32--2, AC9.
The Conservative Party operates "party schools" in the sense that they have civic training centers for party workers and other adults with courses of political and nonpolitical content. In addition, courses are taught in the people's high schools by the party and courses are offered in the auxillary branches of the party. The party sponsors a national educational body called the popular educational association.
6.33--2, AC8.
The Conservative Party passes electoral platforms and programs.
6.34--2, AC8.
The Conservative Party publishes its party program after adoption by the party's national council.
6.50 Providing for Welfare of Party Members
6.51--0, AC3.
The literature does not mention the Conservative 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 Conservative 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 many of the party's constituents are businessmen who have their own interest group organizations, it is unlikely that the party is called upon to perform this service.
6.53--1, AC3.
Although the literature makes no mention of the Conservative Party engaging in 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 Conservative Party sponsors a nationwide educational body known as the popular educational association which offers nonpolitical courses.
6.55--0, AC3.
It is possible that the Conservative Party does engage in this activity as there is one reference that states "the parties and their affiliates sponsor boy scout groups and summer camps." However, there is strong evidence for other parties that they frequently perform recreational services while there is only this one vague reference to the conservatives. Conceived in another way, the party provides recreational facilities through its ancillary organizations, e.g., Youth groups, women's groups, etc.

Autonomy Variables, 7.01-7.05
7.0 Sources of Funds
3 (sector 04), AC8
Many sources document large contributions to the Conservative Party by the employers" association and the industrial council. However, it is only this coder's educated guess that this amount is between 1/3 and 2/3 of the party's support. The remaining support comes from membership dues, individual contributions, and dues from Conservative Folketing members. However, if consideration is taken of the fact that most members are from the business sector and that most individual contributions are from businessmen, then it could be said that 2/3 or more of the party's support is from the business sector.
7.02 Source of Members
5 (sector 04), AC9
Although the Conservative Party draws a great amount of support from businessmen, they do not automatically gain members who are affiliated with business economic groups. Party membership is entirely voluntary.
7.03 Sources of Leaders
2 (sectors 0403), AC7
Further documentation of this code is desirable. It is evident that businessmen predominate in the party's upper ranks and that one national leader, Kraft, was a journalist. Traditionally the party was supported by the large landowners and now receives much electoral support from white collar workers.
7.04 Relations With Domestic Parties
2, AC9
The Conservative Party participated, as the weaker member, in a two-party coalition with the Venstre Party from 1950-1953. From 1953-1962 the Conservatives, still as weaker member, were in overt parliamentary alliance with Venstre and in tacit electoral alliance in some areas.
7.05 Relations With Foreign Organizations, AC6
One source suggests that the Conservative Party is a member of an international organization of like-minded parties but that this membership does not affect national policy decisions but is solely for an information exchanging purpose.

Organizational Complexity Variables, 8.01-8.07
8.01 Structural Articulation
11, AC9
The most important administrative agency of the Conservative Party is the parliamentary (Folketing) group. The basic governing organs are the 1) representative assembly--300 to 500 members, 2) the national council--900 to 1, 100 members, 3) national executive with 65 members and its administrative committee. All membership on these bodies is by prescribed selection.
8.02 Intensiveness of Organization
5, AC8
The Conservative Party's smallest units of organization are based on municipal subdivisions or even smaller units.
8.03 Extensiveness of Organization
6, AC6
Because the Conservative Party competes in all districts during elections and the candidates are selected by the local party units, it is assumed that coverage is rather thorough. The electoral data for the Conservative Party indicates that its strength in the three electoral regions is relatively equal.
8.04 Frequency of Local Meetings
The local units of the Conservative Party must logically meet at least once a year to select representatives to higher party organs such as the party council and nominating districts. These units probably meet monthly, but in the entire literature retrieved there is no mention of the local meetings.
8.05 Frequency of National Meetings
5, AC8
The national executive of the Conservative Party meets six or more times a year--it may meet monthly with the Folketing group to discuss important political matters.
8.06 Maintaining Records
16, AC7
The Conservative Party was scored as follows--"2" because of publication of party newspapers--"6" for the press and information section of the Conservative Party organization--"8" for party lists which are presumed to be of good quality because all members must register and are assessed dues on the basis of registration records.
8.07 Pervasiveness of Organization
3, AC8
The Conservative Party sponsors a youth organization (Konservativ Ungdom) and a women's committee which have not enlisted large proportions of their sectors but which are "highly" controlled by the party. Several groups affiliated with business interests work directly to support and help the party. These are not ancillary organizations. However, in a party system such as Denmark's where the parties generally represent a particular socioeconomic sector's interests and is largely composed of individuals from those sectors, it would seem irrelevant to have an auxiliary group composed of the same element.

Organizational Power Variables, 9.01-9.08
9.01 Nationalization of Structure
6, AC9
The Conservative 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.
9.02 Selecting the National Leader
4, AC9
Leadership for the Conservative Party lies within the Folketing and this group selects its own leader. The national chairman, chosen by the representative assembly, is generally a different individual than the folketing leader and is a mere figurehead.
9.03 Selecting Parliamentary Candidates
5, AC9
Although the official rules of the Conservative Party state that the local organizations have complete control of the selection of candidates, the national executive may, albeit infrequently, exert unofficial control over the process, generally in the form of refusal to accept a particular candidate or type of candidate.
9.04 Allocating Funds
6, AC6
Although the literature describes the sources of the Conservative Party's funds, it does not adequately explain collection and distribution procedures. It is assumed from the fact that the national organization collects funds that it also dispenses funds. A large amount of contributions went directly to the party press, bypassing the regular organization. Lesser amounts are collected and distributed by the legislative party-group.
9.05 Formulating Policy
6, AC9
In the Conservative Party it is the parliamentary party-group which determines policy positions. The executive committee may "vote" on such decisions at times, but it is a gesture only.
9.06 Controlling Communications
7, AC9
The Conservative Party press, which publishes daily and periodical newspapers throughout Denmark, is represented on the highest official levels of the party, and the party's leaders are members of the papers' editorial staff. However, Dagens Nyheder, which faithfully followed the party's policy until its demise in 1961 and which was recognized as the equivalent of an official organ of the party, was owned by two employers' interest groups--the employer's confederation and the federation of Danish industries.
9.07 Administering Discipline
3, AC9
The parliamentary organization of the Conservative 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.
9.08 Leadership Concentration
3, AC7
Leadership in the Conservative Party rests with the parliamentary group chairman. His decisions are accepted by the parliamentary group. In turn, the parliamentary group's decisions are accepted by the party as a whole.

Coherence Variables, 10.01-10.06
10.01 Legislative Cohesion
.95, AC7
The above figure for the cohesiveness of the Conservative Party parliamentary group is an approximation. The literature declares it to be a highly cohesive party but few writers provide quantitative data. However, out of 1,049 divisions between 1953-1963 there were only 27 instances where one or two Conservative Folketing members voted against the majority of the party and only 25 instances where more than two did so.
10.02 Ideological Factionalism
0, AC9
Ideological factionalism is absent in the Danish Conservative Party. To paraphrase David Booth, the Danish electoral system encourages factions to break away and form a new party. The Conservative Party's limited opportunities in parliament demanded that the party avoid factionalism in order to have any influence on government policy.
10.03 Issue Factionalism
0, AC9
There is no documented evidence of issue factionalism in the Conservative Party. In 1953 some conservative members or supporters broke with the party to join Liberal Knud Kristensen in forming the Independent Party. No information is available, however, as to the size or possible organization of these individuals and no publicized disagreements or involvement of leaders is evidenced.
10.04 leadership factionalism
0, AC9
There is no evidence of leadership factionalism in the Conservative Party. The literature attributes this to the need for complete unity if the party is to have any opportunity to effect national policy.
10.05 strategic or tactical factionalism
0, AC9
The Conservative Party shows no sign of strategic factionalism. The close cooperation of the Moderate Liberal (Venstre) Party and the Conservative Party is known to have occasioned serious dispute in the Venstre ranks, but this is not true of the Conservative Party, which as the weaker member of the coalition had more to gain.
10.06 Party Purges
0, AC9
There were no purges in the Conservative Party during our time period.

Involvement Variables, 11.01-11.06
11.01 Membership Requirements
3, AC8
To become a member of the Conservative Party, an individual must register, sign a card, and pay annual dues. The payment of dues is more thoroughly documented 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 social and educational events sponsored by the Conservative Party are included, the code would be "2." If only regular party meetings were considered, the code probably would be "0."
11.03 Material Incentives
0, AC3
Although the Conservative Party, as one of the four major parties in the Folketing, has political jobs to dispense, it is doubtful that as much as 1 /3 of the party militants are motivated for this reason. These jobs are considered more a remuneration for business income lost during public service and are generally awarded after ten years of service in the Folketing. In general, party militants seem to be motivated by solidarity and purposive incentives 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 Conservative Party.
11.05 Doctrinism
1, AC9
The Conservative Party's program embodies the party's doctrine and may at times be considered a referent for decisions. Because the party's militants are generally agreed on political principles, however, the party's doctrine is not constantly consulted nor is it considered unalterable or infallible.
11.06 Personalism
0, AC9
There is no evidence in the literature that Conservative Party militants are motivated by personalism. The party's leader has changed without incidence or noted defections.