With 151 votes against 27, the congress adopted to remove the so-called confession section of the party’s bylaws and replace it with a new mission statement on Friday night.
– This is a historic decision. Now we are ready to work with the policy as a whole, and not as a conflicted party, said KrF politician Dagrun Eriksen to TV2.
Christian Democratic Party Youth Leader, Elisabeth Løland also welcomed the decision. She said this was something they have struggled to remove for decades.
– As of today, we welcome anyone who will fight for our policies, said the leader of KrF’s youth branch.
While the party officers previously had to profess the Christian faith to hold a position in the Christian Democratic Party, the new KrF laws states that all who have offices and have been elected to the party are committed and will work for the party’s Christian values.
Confession clause has aroused strong feelings in the Christian Democratic Party. Two years ago the party started the process that has led to today’s decision.
The Christian Democratic Party (KrF), is a Christian democratic political party in Norway founded in 1933. The Norwegian name literally translates to Christian People’s Party. The name may also be translated as “The People’s Christian Party”, thus not excluding non-Christian voters.
The party follow their European counterparts in many ways, arguing that the state should care for its citizens but not get otherwise economically involved. In the late 1990s they positioned themselves as a family-friendly party. The party is an observer member of the European People’s Party (EPP).
Knut Arild Hareide is the current leader of the party. Their leader from 1983 to 1995, Kjell Magne Bondevik, was one of the most prominent political figures in modern Norway, serving as Prime Minister from 1997 to 2000 and 2001 to 2005. Under the old leadership of Bondevik and Valgerd Svarstad Haugland, the party was to some extent radicalized and moved towards the left. Due largely to their poor showing in the 2009 elections, the party has seen a conflict between its conservative and liberal wings over which direction their political ideology should shift in the future.
In social policy the Christian Democratic Party generally have conservative opinions. On life issues, the party opposes euthanasia, and abortion, though it can support abortion in cases of rape or when the mother’s life is at risk. The party supports accessibility to contraception as a way of lowering abortion rates. They also want to ban research on human fetuses, and have expressed skepticism for proposals to liberalize the biotechnology laws in Norway. Bondevik’s second government made the biotechnology laws of Norway among the strictest in the World, with support from the Socialist Left Party and the Centre Party, but in 2004 a case regarding a child with thalassemia brought this law under fire. On gay rights issues, the party supports possibilities for gay couples to live together, but opposes gay marriage and gay adoption rights. The party maintains neutrality on the issue of gay clergy, calling that an issue for the church.
Since the party was established, a declaration of Christian faith was required for a person to be a representative in the party. Membership had no such requirement. The increase of support from other religions, including Islam, stimulated efforts to abolish this rule.