Our research is guided by four core themes:
- rebel group to political party transformation
- political parties and elections
- inclusion and democracy
These themes allow an in-depth exploration of the role of former armed groups in politics across time. We map the political contribution of armed groups from the peace agreements outlining their transition to political party status, through post- conflict election cycles, to their involvement in long-term state-building and peace-building processes.
The long-term view enables us to make connections between rebel group organisation, the type of conflict, and the quality of party politics, democracy and peace in the long-term. In particular, we address the following issues that cut across each theme:
- the relationship between peace duration and the type of rebel group inclusion in politics
- the influence of conflict-ending (settlement vs victory) and the type of conflict on transition, peace and democracy
- the influence of rebel group ideology and organisational structure on political party formation and long-term contribution to state-building, governance and democracy
Our research provides guidance for post-conflict policies regarding armed groups. For example, current DDR and SSR policies seek to depoliticise and disconnect armed groups. Our research suggests that under certain circumstances, the networks between armed groups can support successful political party transformation and support democratic peace-building.