Rebel to Party Transformation

For armed groups to compete for power through ballots rather than bullets, it is crucial to transform them into political parties that are capable of sustaining peace. This transformation provides channels for both interest articulation and political process engagement, which in turn, should contribute to peace, stability and democracy.

Our research agenda considers the conditions and causal mechanisms that promote the successful transition of armed groups to political parties. Our studies focus on:

  • the challenges of transforming from armed into non-armed political organisations
  • the factors that explain the initial electoral success of former armed groups that have turned into political parties
  • large N-studies to explain successful rebel to political party transformations

Our research indicates that the legacies of armed group mobilisation, the character of the war, rebel group pre-war experiences as well as the nature of conflict endings (settlement vs victory) impact on the transition process.

For more information see: Ishiyama, John, Guest Editor, Special Issue: ‘From Bullets to Ballots: the Transformation of Rebel Groups into Political Parties’ Democratisation 2016, 23 no. 6

Next: Political Parties and Elections