Political engineering and party politics in conflict-prone societies

Benjamin Reilly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)


Comparative scholarship suggests that democracy in ethnically-diverse societies is likely to be fostered by the development of broad-based, aggregative, and multi-ethnic political parties, rather than fragmented, personalised, or ethnically-based party systems. However, surprisingly little scholarly attention has been given to how party fragmentation can be addressed or how broad-based parties can be sustained, despite some remarkable recent experiments in conflict-prone societies such as Indonesia, Turkey, Nigeria, Kenya, Thailand, the Philippines, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Papua New Guinea aimed at influencing party system development. Drawing on these and other cases, this article identifies four strategies of 'party engineering' that have been used to promote broad-based, cross-regional, or multi-ethnic political parties in new democracies around the world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-827
Number of pages17
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


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