The Politics After War network brings together researchers with expertise across a broad spectrum of intra-state contexts, allowing us to draw general conclusions regarding cross-regional trends and also to understand context-specific factors that impact on outcomes.
Rebel to political party transformation has become a central feature of intra-state war to peace transitions across the globe. About one third (35.5%) of armed groups entering negotiated peace between 1975 and 2011 transformed into political parties. This development is due to the realisation that the creation of durable peace settlements requires the active co-operation of these political groups. Research indicates the peace duration after civil war depends heavily on whether former rebel groups decide to evade, adapt to or exit the political arena. But the nature of this transition, the types of political practice and the long-term impacts of rebel political practice on democracy differs according to country and regional context.
The FMLN in El Salvador, M19 in Colombia, the LTTE in Sri Lanka and GAM in Indonesia’s Aceh province adapted to pluralist multi-party democracy. In other contexts, such as Ethiopia, Rwanda and Eritrea, the rebel groups that won civil wars emerged as strong authoritarian parties and governments. In Lebanon and Palestine, armed groups participate in electoral politics without relinquishing their weapons. In newly independent states such as Kosovo, East Timor and South Sudan, former liberation movements have garnered international support to achieve political recognition, but each have embraced different types governance and political ideas.