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Høyre (Norway)

Hyre_1 Brief by Morten Fjeldberg

In Norway, we have a Conservative Party (Høyre) established in 1884, Norway's second oldest political party (the oldest being the Liberal Party, established in 1883, the Labour Party was established in 1887). 

Currently (since the General Election 2005) we have only 28 MPs in the Storting.  In the previous Parliament (2001-2005), we were part of a coalition Government with the Christian Peoples Party and the Liberal Party. The Christian Peoples Party had the PM, but we held most other important offices, like Finance, Foreign Affairs, Defence, Local Government. 

The Conservative Party (Høyre) has long tradition for working together with like-minded conservative parties. We have cooperation with Nordic parties (party leaders meeting, party secretary meetings, spokesmen meetings), and we are part of the Conservative Group in the Nordic Council.

We were members of the now defunct European Democrat Union, and are now observers in the EPP.

We are also members of the International Democrat Union. IDU now has its headquarters in Oslo, the new Secretary General is Eirik Moen, former Secretary General of Høyre and former state secretary in the Office of the PM.

Høyre has two youth wings, Unge Høyres Landsforbund (Young Conservatives) and Høyres Studenterforbund (Federation of Norwegian Conservative Students). 

Young Conservatives have about 2 000 paid-up members, I am not sure how many members Conservative Students have, but they are a smaller organisation since they only organise at the universities and some other higher education establishments. 

Young Conservatives - Congress every two years who elect a Executive Board. The Leader of the Executive Board work full time, and they have a smaller secretariat. There is also a Committee comprised of the Executive Board and the county chairmen. In every county they have a branch, a board and local organisations.

Conservative Students - Annual Meeting every year who elect a Executive Board. They have a part time Secretary General. There is also a Committee comprised of the Executive Board, two elected by the Annual Meeting and the branch chairmen.

Both organisations have absolute power to adopt their own programmes, principles and so on. The two organisations are meant to recruit people to the party and provide fresh ideas.

The two organisations are integrated part of the the party, and the secretariats are located in Conservative Party HQ.

The Leader of Young Conservatives is a member of the Executive Board and Central Committee of the party, the leader of the Conservative Students is just a member of the Central Committee.

The Executive Board of the party meet every week, the Central Committee meet about 6-7 times a year.

Both organisations have delegations with voting rights at the Conservative Party Congress, held every year.

The same procedure is at county and local levels in the party.

Regarding age, Young Conservatives organize from about 17/18 up to 30 years. I think most of the active people on central level are about 22-28/29 years. When they are 30, they tend to turn their activity into party related work. Many people are however members of both the Young Conservatives and the Conservative Party at the same time.

Conservative Students also organise young people, all from about 19/20 up to 30 years, many people are active in both organisations. 

Regarding principles, I think that Young Conservatives and Conservative Students can be more liberal/libertarian in their views, they discuss student issues, globalisation, freedom from the state and so on. Personally, I am a liberal conservative (economic libertarian and conservative on issues like justice). The youth wings are often focused on more ideological issues, not just day to day party politics. As I have mentioned, they are free to discuss and adopt their own political manifestos, programmes and other policy. Often, they also put their proposals to the Party, specially at the Conservative Party Congress every year, in form of resolutions and motions. 

Most activites are held in Oslo, but sometimes, they have their Congress/Annual Meetings, seminars other parts of the country. But, of course, most activities at central level are held in Oslo. Norway is a large country, and it is more convinient to have the activities and most meetings in Oslo.

Young Conservatives are one of the most active and large organisations on the political side, I think perhaps Young Labour are larger. 

Many of the other parties do not have a separate student wing, some have, and they are smaller and less active.


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