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Incorporation and Institution-Building: Autonomy and Elections in Post-Conflict Aceh

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Abstract:

Granting political autonomy to regions is a common approach for dealing with secessionist movements. In the aftermath of conflict, it is argued that autonomy can incorporate potential peace spoilers, while addressing the underlying grievances that led to rebellion. Autonomy strategies ultimately aim to incorporate former insurgents into the political system, while building the capacity and legitimacy of local institutions. Based on the case of Aceh, Indonesia, where a 2005 peace agreement sought to end a three-decade secessionist conflict, this article argues that these two aims—political incorporation and institution-building—are often in tension. Focusing on the 2006 local elections in Aceh, we illustrate how electoral practices led to compromises that helped to bind former rebels into the political settlement, but that also have the potential to undermine future good governance. Our analysis highlights the tensions and trade-offs between political incorporation and institution-building in post-conflict political environments characterized by patronage.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2010

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  • The St Antony's International Review (STAIR) is the only peer-reviewed journal of international affairs at the University of Oxford. Set up by graduate students of St Antony's College in 2005, the Review has carved out a distinctive niche as a cross-disciplinary outlet for research on the most pressing contemporary global issues, providing a forum in which emerging scholars can publish their work alongside established academics and policymakers. Past contributors include Robert O. Keohane, James N. Rosenau, and Alfred Stepan.
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