This article explores the political dynamics surrounding the Eastern Provincial Council during Sri Lanka’s post-war transition. We show that decentralisation constituted an intervention in conflict, rather than a solution to it. It creates new institutional arenas to re-negotiate centre-periphery relations, resulting in new forms of political mobilisation. There are crucial spatial dimensions to these contentions: it involves contested territorialisation of power, scalar manoeuvring, and boundary drawing. We illustrate how wider tensions between deconcentration and devolution play out in Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province, highlighting the key role performed by brokers in mediating centre-periphery relations, both through and alongside the Provincial Council.