Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies

The creation of governments-in-waiting: the Arab Uprisings and legitimacy in the international system

Dr Glen Rangwala, University of Cambridge

4 December

Dr Glenwala presents hos tlak

Dr Glen Rangwala examined the governments which were established during the displacement of an older political order amidst continuing armed conflict.


During the Arab Uprisings from 2010, a series of new interim governments were formed in which processes of international brokerage played a significant role. Some governments were formed only once the old political order had been displaced, but others were established during, and partly as a means to achieve, that displacement amidst continuing armed conflict.

Dr Rangwala’s talk examined the second type of case in his talk organised by the Conflict, Security and International Order research cluster. He argued that the move by major powers to shift recognition to new administrations forms part of the process of delegitimising a national political system that still, at least in part, exists. This talk looked at the multi-site formation of these "governments-in-waiting", as they seek to bridge the gap between the diaspora and the resident, between the long established parties of exile and the local military commanders. The process of formation also acts as channel through which external authorities seek – not always successfully – to act as dispensers of legitimation, and thus arbiters of rightful inclusion within structures of government.

It explored how the act of legitimation translates into changing modes of governance in areas that came under the control of the new authorities, their role in facilitating and managing processes of civil and military defection, and, in the some cases, the consequences of prior formation for the establishment of full governments once the ancien régime has been finally overthrown.