Norway’s Labour Party (Ap) celebrated its 125th birthday, Tuesday, with leader Jens Stoltenberg in festive and commemorative mood accompanied by song and marzipan cake.
"This is not just a day to celebrate 125 years of the Labour Party because people rarely get to celebrate that number. We should celebrate that today we are here and we relevant," said the Prime Minister.
Stoltenberg stressed the foundations of the social democratic political Party established on 21 August 1887 in Arendal, southern Norway were undertaken by people who wanted rights for workers.
"Instead of mentioning politicians in the cabinet who are significant, I'd like to take the time to mention those who are involved in the things we don't see. They have helped us to build the path over 125 years, they have worked behind the scenes. It is first and foremost those people who are the Labour Party," he declared.
In his address, Jens Stoltenberg outlined what he viewed as the significant and main points in the Party's history. He touched on how it supported the job market in Norway after World War II, 1945, was at the forefront of a co-operative for workers when oil was discovered, and that it developed Statoil to ensure that every Norwegian has a share in the country’s prosperity.
Equal rights of women were another theme, with voting rights, better parenting rights, day-care facilities. Norway is also a country of equal rights, where it is best to be a mother. He also mentioned the [gender-neutral marriage] bill, passed in 2009, for same-sex marriages. Same-sex partnerships (‘samboer’) have been allowed in Norway since 1993.
The Prime Minister then mentioned Labour’s worst-ever electoral results since 1925 whilst he was in office between 2000 and 2001. Labour was a minority government, and then were in Opposition from 2001 to 2005 whilst then Christian Democrate (KrF) Prime Minster Kjell Magne Bondevik held office for the second time.
Former PM Gro Harlem Brundtland
©2012 Sarah Pettersen/The ForeignerIn 2005, Labour entered a majority government as one of the tri-partite Coalition Parties together with the Socialist Left Party (SV) and the Centre Party (SP), when Stoltenberg was elected as Prime Minister. He was then re-elected in 2009.
Stoltenberg also outlined that the history of the Labour Party was inevitably going to touch on 22 July 2011.
“Something essential was missing. We are here to protect people's safety. We have to do what is required of us,” he said, continuing to talk about the notion of freedom, the need for self-criticism, being proud, and realising visions.
Somewhat grandiosely, he concluded by saying that "2012 will demand a lot of us. We are going to make every day better. We will change the visions to be relevant. We will take Norway forward."
In stark contrast, former Labour Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland delivered a short and general speech, saying "together we will inspire one another".
The only Norwegian female Prime Minster-ever was concerned with a "better and fairer Norway and a better and fairer world."
Brundtland represented ideals of the political Right in the ‘80s and ‘90s that the Party needed to re-attract to gain election after they started to lose voters from 1970's. She was Prime Minster from 1990-1996.
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