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Post-Rebel Parties and Party System Formation

Cleavages
Conflict Resolution
Political Parties
Electoral Behaviour
Party Systems
Peace
Carrie Manning
Georgia State University
Carrie Manning
Georgia State University

Abstract

Recent research on electoral participation by armed group successor parties shows that a significant proportion of these parties continue to participate in electoral politics with varying degrees of success, over decades. How do these parties affect the cleavages that structure post-war politics? Under what circumstances do the cleavages that sustained wartime mobilization continue to define post-war politics? When and why do new cleavages emerge? And what is the impact on the quality of democracy and the sustainability of peace? This paper uses an original global comparative dataset on post-rebel party electoral participation to identify patterns of cleavage formation and realignment in the party systems of post-conflict states. To make sense of these patterns, the paper draws on the rich and varied comparative literature on theories of party system formation, from Lipset and Rokkan to theories built on the experience of new democracies from Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia. To what extent do these theories explain political dynamics in post-conflict settings? What new insights can the study of political dynamics after civil war bring to our understanding of party system change more broadly?