Path: Table of Contents > Essay on Party Politics > Party 224
Icelandic Social Democratic Party, 224
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
1916, AC8
0, AC3
According to most sources, the Social Democratic Party was founded in 1916 as the Labor Party. The left wing of the party split in 1930 to form the Communist Party. Apparently, its name was changed to Social Democrats sometime before 1940, for references to it in the 1940s are as the Social Democrats. There is no indication of a name change.
1.03 organizational discontinuity
6, AC6
In 1953 a minor split occurred when some activists joined the National Preservation Party. A major split followed in 1954 when the Icelandic Federation of Labour broke away, later to join the People's Union.
1.04 leadership competition
14, AC7
The leadership apparently shifted from Stefannsson to Gudmundsson to Valdimarsson to Jonsson during our time period, but the process of change is not clear.
1.05 legislative instability
Instability is .09, AC9
Though the Social Democrats hold few seats in the legislature, their representation is fairly stable, ranging only between 12 percent and 15 percent of the seats.
1.06 electoral instability
Instability is .10, AC9
Legislative elections were held in 1953, 1956, and two in 1959. The Social Democrats proportion of the vote won was small but fairly stable, ranging from 13 percent in 1959 to 18 percent in 1956.

Governmental Status Variables, 2.01-2.07
2.01 government discrimination
0 for 1950-62, AC8
Government generally neutral towards this party.
2.02 governmental leadership
0 out of 7 for 1950-56, AC9
2 out of 6 for 1957-62, AC9
Emil Jonsson was prime minister in 1958-59 when the Social Democrats attempted a minority government.
2.03 cabinet participation
1 out of 7 for 1950-56, AC9
6 out of 6 for 1957-62, AC9
Social Democrats were represented in the cabinet in 1956-58 when in coalition with the progressives and people's union, in 1958-59 when alone in a minority government, and in 1959-62, in coalition with the Independence Party.
2.04 national participation
5 for 1950-62, AC6
Nationally oriented party but much stronger in cities along the southwestern coast.
2.05 legislative strength
Strength is .13 for 1950-56, AC9 and .14 for 1957-62, AC9
Though the Social Democrats hold few seats in the legislature, their representation is fairly stable, ranging only between 12 percent and 15 percent of the seats.
2.06 electoral strength
Strength is .17 for 1950-56, AC9 and .14 for 1957-62, AC9
Legislative elections were held in 1953, 1956, and two in 1959. The Social Democrats proportion of the vote won was small but fairly stable, ranging from 13 percent in 1959 to 18 percent in 1956.
2.07 outside origin
8, AC3
It appears that the party was formed by labor leaders.

Issue Orientation Variables, 5.01-5.15
5.01 ownership of means of production
5 for 1950-62, AC6
Advocates state ownership of industries. Favors socialization of industries still under private ownership.
5.02 government role in economic planning
3 for 1950-62, AC9
Favors government regulation of economy by subsidies, price and wage ceilings, revaluation of the currency, and other efforts to balance the budget.
5.03 redistribution of wealth
1 for 1950-62, AC3
Favors redistribution by adjusting the tax scale.
5.04 social welfare
5 for 1950-62, AC8
Programs for universal medical care, care for the aged, and child welfare already exist and are supported by party at local levels.
5.05 secularization of society
3 for 1950-62, AC9
Supports clergy by state since 97 percent of population belongs to state church. There is no compulsion and freedom of conscience is protected.
5.06 support of the military
5 for 1950-62, AC9
Anti-military, and favors continuation of no armed forces .
5.07 alignment with east-west blocs
2 for 1950-62, AC5
Favors continued membership in NATO, though advocates Icelandic control of U.S. military base during times of peace.
5.08 anti-colonialism
3 for 1950-56, AC8 -
1 for 1957-62, AC8
The Social Democrats have been concerned about the U.S. influence on Iceland because of the NATO military base. They once favored the withdrawal of NATO forces. But since 1956 and the soviet suppression of Hungary, the party shifted its position to supporting the U.S. military presence, established under a 1951 agreement that makes the U.S. responsible for Icelandic defense.
5.09 supranational integration
No information.
5.10 national integration
Government has allowed regional expression, but the small size of the population makes political issues national issues. Further, close to 65 percent of the population lives near Reykjavik.
5.11 electoral participation
5 for 1950-62, AC9
Party supports the maintenance of universal suffrage.
5.12 protection of civil rights
No information.
5.13 interference with civil liberties
3 for 1950-62, AC6
Recognizes freedom of press and no censorship.
5.14 / 5.15 us--soviet experts left-right ratings
U.S. says 3, non-communist left
Soviets say 2, party of workers, white collar workers, petty bourgeois. Party program of 1963 is reformist.

Goal Orientation Variables, 6.01-6.55
6.00 open competition in the electoral process
4 for 1950-62, AC9
Relies on open competition.
6.10 restricting party competition
0 for 1950-62, AC9
Does not rely on restricting party competition.
6.20 subverting the political system
0 for 1950-62, AC9
Does not rely on subverting the electoral process.
6.30 propagandizing ideas and program
6.31 2, AC8. The party owns and operates a daily newspaper.
6.32 AC1. No information.
6.33 1 for first half, AC6 and for second half, AC1. Various resolutions were passed during the first half of our time period, however there is no indication of whether this activity continued into the second half of our time period.
6.34 AC1. No information.
6.50 providing for welfare of party members
6.51, 6.52, 6.53, 6.55 AC1. No information.
6.54 AC2. Insufficient information.

Autonomy Variables, 7.01-7.05
7.01 sources of funds
No information
7.02 source of members
No information
7.03 sources of leaders
3 (sector 1), AC3
Leaders are from labor groups and leftist organizations.
7.04 relations with domestic parties
6 for 1950-56, AC5
4 for 1957-62, AC9
Excepting 1956, the Social Democrats were not involved in a governmental alliance during the first half of the time period. The existence of parliamentary alliances during this time is unknown. The score is something less than complete autonomy, however, because of the year in a governing coalition. For the second half of the time period, the Social Democrats were involved in a governing coalition for all but two years, when they formed a minority government with no more autonomy.
7.05 relations with foreign organizations
3 for 1950-62, AC6
Icelandic Social Democrats were charter members of the Socialist International, founded in 1951, and remained members throughout our time period.

Organizational Complexity Variables, 8.01-8.07
8.01 structural articulation
2 for 1950-62, AC7
The executive board is the national organ of party leadership, and factions often involve internal party feuds and struggles for the chairmanship and leadership of the party.
8.02 intensiveness of organization
5 for 1950-62, AC8
The party has chapters in all communities.
8.03 extensiveness of organization
5 for 1950-62, AC3
The party has local chapters in each community and at the university, but as the weakest of the four parties it draws most of its support from the non communist industrial unions and some craft unions in and around Reykjavik.
8.04 frequency of local meetings
No information
8.05 frequency of national meetings
2 for 1950-62, AC6
Literature mentioned the annual meeting of the executive board.
8.06 maintaining records
2, AC5
The party publishes a daily newspaper. There is no information as to whether it has an archive or keeps membership lists.
8.07 pervasivess of organization
9 for 1950-62, AC3
Has control of a few non-communist labour unions, and some auxiliary women's and youth organizations.

Organizational Power Variables, 9.01-9.08
9.01 nationalization of structure
No information.
9.02 selecting the national leader
7 for 1950-62, AC9
Executive board has control over party leadership when power struggles within the party threaten the unity of the organization. Power struggle over leadership between Stefansson and Valdemarsson from 1952-56.
9.03 selecting parliamentary candidates
No information
9.04 allocating funds
No information
9.05 formulating policy
6 for 1950-62, AC8
The party has experienced various leadership changes. The policy making body that generally has emerged is the party's executive board.
9.06 controlling communications
7 for 1950-62, AC8
The party owns a daily newspaper, but the circulation is not as widespread as the other parties' papers.
9.07 administering discipline
4 for 1950-62, AC8
The executive board of the party has taken action against its members, for example, Valdemarsson's expulsion from the party in 1956.
9.08 leadership concentration
3 for 1950-62, AC3
The executive committee of the party makes decisions in various areas, and it has emerged as the party organ of policy, expressing the views of the dominant leadership faction at the time.

Coherence Variables, 10.01-10.06
10.01 legislative cohesion
No information
10.02 ideological factionalism
5 for 1950-62, AC9
There is a radical faction within the party whose adherents have left, or have considered leaving, in controversies over radical or more moderate policies on labour, foreign affairs, and the economy.
10.03 issue factionalism
1 for 1950-62, AC3
Issues are debated among leaders, but factions generally divide along leadership or ideological lines.
10.04 leadership factionalism
6 for 1950-56, AC8
Party leadership struggles between two distinct factions which involved intense rivalry from 1953-54, when one of the leaders was ousted .
10.05 strategic or tactical factionalism
5 for 1950-56, AC6
During the first time period, there was intense debate and struggle over labour position and whether to cooperate with left parties.
10.06 party purges
0 for 1950-62, AC8
There were no purges in our time period.

Involvement Variables, 11.01-11.06
11.01 membership requirements
No information.
11.02 membership participation
Insufficient information.
11.03 material incentives
1 for 1950-62, AC3
Party militants pushed for resolution on U.S. withdrawal from the military base because they did not benefit materially from the contracts.
11.04 purposive incentives
1 for 1950-62, AC3
The realization of a true socialist state is presumably a goal of at least a sizable minority of party militants.
11.05 doctrinism
1 for 1950-62, AC3
Marxist literature probably forms the basis of party doctrine.
11.06 personalism
0 for 1950-62, AC3
Charismatic leadership does not seem to be a factor in the Social Democratic Party.