Which is the bigger mess?
Sep 28, 2005
The Economist spoke of a "perfect mess". Was that the Bundestag or the small-half-donut-inside-a-big-half-donut mess?
Presumably, it was something about the distribution of seats that so disturbed our esteemed editors but the reader is unlikely to empathize based on this chart. One will be mistaken to think the size of the Bundestag doubled from 2002 to 2005; in fact, it only grew by 10 to 613 seats in 2005.
In the chart on the right, the gains and losses in seats by each party are made front and center. This is a good chart if seat changes are the key message to be conveyed. Lying hidden in this presentation is the fact that the two largest parties has continued to dominate despite losing some seats to the small parties.
Again, I turn to the Bumps chart. Here, both the relative sizes of each party and the gains/losses are clearly depicted.
It is also easy to read off the rankings by number of seats in 2002 and 2005. For instance, the Christian Democrats overtook the Social Democrats in 2005. The Left Party enjoyed a spectacular rise while the Greens suffered, becoming the smallest party, even though it lost only four seats. The total number of seats is also included without clutter.
At long last, the so-called mess is evident in the criss-crossing lines, indicating that the ranking of the parties was turned topsy-turvy in the recent election.
Reference: "A system in crisis, a country adrift", Economist, Sept 22 2005.
Thanks to Annette for help with this post.