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Julia

I am so sorry to comment so late on this entry, but I can't let that stand. I would argue that the original Economist graph got it right. The mess is not the gain of power by the smaller parties or the miraculous rise of the Left party but the inability for either political side to build a coalition. You need 50% of the parliament to be the governing coalition, to have your chancellor and your cabinet. Until 2005, the governing coalition consisted of Social Democrats and Greens, making up over 50% in a middle-left coalition. Before 1998, the Christian Democrats governed together with the Liberal Party (Free Democratic Party) in a middle-right coalition. Both those coalitions were impossible in 2005. That was the mess the Economist was talking about and this information got completely lost in your graph.
The election result ultimately lead to a super coalition of Social Democrats and Christian Democrats.
Now smaller points that I think are not that good in your graph:
The abbreviations for the parties are mostly wrong. The Free Democrats are the FDP, the Social Democrats are the SPD, the Christian Democrats are the CDU, the Left and the Greens have no abbreviations. This may sound like a small thing but think how confusing it would be if someone would not use D for Democrats but something like De.
The Left party had no miraculous rise, it was more a combination of two smaller parties uniting in addition to Germany having a 5%-rule, where parties under 5% do not get seats in the parliament. Thus, a small change between 4.9% and 5.0% leads to a very big change in the number of seats.
So, whereas it is questionable if the problem of having a coalition of at least 50% can be understood with the original graph, your graph shows small electoral changes from 2002 to 2005 and says that somehow, this should be a mess.
Again, I am sorry for the late comment.

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