The following cartogram series provides a detailed look into the changed political landscapes in Germany following this year’s general election. While the previous maps gave an insight into the strongest party in each constituency, these maps give a clearer picture of the vote share distribution that also determines the constitution of parliament which follows a system of proportional representation. Continue reading
The re-election of Angela Merkel as chancellor of Germany in yesterday’s federal election (Bundestagswahl) came as little surprise. Yet the final result was still widely seen as a political earthquake. The extreme right ‘Alternative for Germany‘ (Alternative für Deutschland, AfD) entered the federal parliament (Bundestag) with 12.6% of the second vote (Zweitstimme) that determines the proportional distribution of seats (having gained 7.9% compared to the 2013 election). With 94 seats, the party has become the third largest after CDU (26.8%, 200 seats, having lost 7.4%) and SPD (20.5%, 153 seats, having lost 5.2%). FDP re-entered parliament with 10.7% of the second vote (up by 6.0%, 80 seats). Former opposition leader Die Linke went up by 0.6% to 9.2% (69 seats), followed by Grüne at 8.9% (67 seats, having gained 0.5%). CDU’s sister party in Bavaria, CSU, lost 1.2% and is at 6.2% (46 seats).
AfD’s rise is the most significant change in the political landscape which also becomes visible on the new electoral maps of this year’s election. The following two maps show the distribution of the largest party in the first and second vote. In the southern parts of east Germany (Saxony) AfD managed to win three constituencies with the first-past-the-post first vote, and also became the largest party in eight constituencies in the second vote that decides on each party’s proportional representation in parliament.
Apart from this change, the electoral landscape of the strongest party in each constituency remains similar to previous elections: SPD, despite their losses, remains strongest in the urban areas of north-, central- and western Germany and are stronger in the constituency vote, while CDU dominates rural regions and much of Southern Germany except for Bavaria where CSU is taking CDU’s role. Die Linke only becomes visible as a winner in East Germany, while the Green Party holds on to its only constituency seat in Berlin:
The introductory words by Prime Minister Theresa May in the Conservative manifesto 2017 outlined the main focus for the government’s General Election campaign: ‘Brexit will define us: our place in the world, our economic security and our future prosperity’. But when it came to Brexit, the campaign itself featured little of political substance from either of the two main parties. The impact of the EU-debate on the (quite unexpected) election outcome is very complex, with the anticipated Conservative gains in Leave-voting Labour seats failing to materialise.
In a contribution for the “In Focus” feature of Political Insight (September 2017, Volume 8, Issue 2) I looked at the outcome of the general election from the perspective of Brexit:
Trying to get a picture of where and how many species globally are endangered or even at risk of extinction is a difficult undertaking. For 50 years the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) publishes the red list of threatened species. The list is a “comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species and their links to livelihoods”. It contains over 77,000 species of which according to the most recent report more than 22,000 are at risk of extinction. IUCN considers species at risk when they are “critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable.”
Mapped here is data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of threatened species including endangered and vulnerable species. The main cartogram shows countries resized according to all animal and plant species assessed as being at risk of local extinction. The two smaller cartograms highlight that conservation efforts have very different spatial degrees of severity, which also partly reflects the different geographical distribution of species.
Passenger transport in Europe is largely dominated by cars. In the past decade, cars kept a consistent share of around 83 per cent of the modal split within the European Union, followed by buses and coaches (around nine per cent in most recent statistics) and trains (between seven and eight per cent). The modal split describes these modes of transport as ‘transport kilometres travelled by all inland passengers’. In the debate about sustainable development, this is an important measure to monitor the environmental and social impacts of the specific modes of transport.
Cars are generating the most emissions and pollution per passenger kilometre and also have significantly higher accident rates. Mass transit and public transport, including buses and coaches as well as trains, are therefore regarded as the more sustainable alternatives and have regained importance in urban and regional planning.
Buses rely on the same transport infrastructure as cars, while trains require railway tracks in order to maintain or improve the existing transport capabilities. Recent trends showing a slow but steady revival of passenger transport by train in Europe therefore have to be seen in the context of its existing transport infrastructure. New railway infrastructure is costly and requires time-consuming planning procedures.
A look at the railway infrastructure in Europe (beyond the EU) shows that across the continent there are approximately 250,000 km of tracks, just slightly lower than the length of tracks in the USA, where train travel plays a subordinate role in passenger transport but serves mostly freight transport.
Education and money undoubtedly go hand in hand. A closer look at the metrics that go into the creation of higher education rankings such as the Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings (THE WUR) proofs just the point that without adequate resources and funding global success can hardly be achieved. The following map which was created by analysing data of the 2016/17 World University Ranking data with regards to its spatial distribution of the most successful universities in this ranking. The map is a gridded cartogram which is reshaped to show national wealth, measured by gross domestic product. The land area in each country has been resized to reflect economic output. North America and Western Europe bugle to dominate this world map, while the entire continent of Africa virtually disappears. On this new world map, all the universities in the THE World University Rankings are plotted, with the larger, red dots representing world’s top 50 universities and the smaller circles representing the lower ranks: