Post-conflict political parties: Party formation, organisation and institutionalisation in the context of peace building and democratisation

What characterizes political parties in post-conflict societies? To what extent are political parties able to aggregate, channel and express political grievances and contribute to conflict management and democratisation? Even though the significance of political parties for democracy is long-established, it is clear that we still know very little about how political parties function in the aftermath of war.In the processes of democratisation and consolidation that post-conflict societies usually go through, the formation of efficient and functioning political parties to provide governance is of utmost importance.

The project aims to provide answers to these questions through cross-regional comparisons of parties in the Balkans (Bosnia Herzegovina and Kosovo) and in Asia (Sri Lanka, East Timor and Indonesia/Aceh).  Three themes are particularly important in guiding the study: (1) The transformative effects of war on parties; (2) Institutional framework aimed to regulate party behaviour, such as party laws, the use of quotas to enhance women’s representation and institutional frameworks aimed to break down wartime polarisation; and (3) intra-party governance dynamics that also impact on parties’ ability to formulate policy and governance more generally. These three themes also serve to bridge two literatures that rarely speak to each other; the literatures on political parties and on peace building/conflict resolution.

The project is co-funded by the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Fellowship Programme of the European Commission and the Research Council of Norway. The project currently has funding from 2015 through 2019.

Rebels in Power (2011-2015)

This research agenda has a twofold focus: First, I am interested in the political transformation of rebel groups in the context of international peacebuilding and second, I study how former rebel groups adapt to multi-party politics, focusing primarily on the intra-organisational features of the movements. Peacebuilding here is interpreted broadly to include formal peace processes, peace negotiations and post-conflict peacebuilding activities.

Politics and development in Indonesia and East Timor

In addition to my research on political parties and peace building, I follow, write about and teach politics in Indonesia and East Timor, with a particular focus on statebuilding, democratisation, political parties, secessionism and sustainable development.


  • Indonesia: Dynamics of Regime Change, ch 20 in Burnell, Peter, Lise Rakner and Vicky Randall (eds.) Politics in the Developing World, Oxford: Oxford University Press. In press.
  • Indonesia: Neo-liberalism in the context of patronage democracy, Ch 8 in Hansen, Arve and Wethal, Ulrikke (eds.), Emerging Economies and Challenges to Sustainability: Theories, strategies, and local realities (New York: Routledge) (2015)
  • Civic engagement and democracy in Post-Suharto Indonesia: A review of Musrenbang, the Kecamatan Development Program and labour organising, Power, Conflict and Democracy, 4 (1) (2012)
  • From political exclusion to Inclusion: The political transformation of GAM, Chapter 5 in Törnquist (eds.) Aceh: The Role of Democracy for Peace and Reconstruction, Singapore: PCD Press (2nd ed. 2010)