Once upon a time, Slovakia’s party politics was extremely difficult to follow, even for the trained observer. The comings and goings of parties and party members in and out of various groupings in various guises resembled a scene from a Marx Brothers movie. In order to keep track of these shifts and to explain them to others, I adapted and subsequently modified the work of a variety of other scholars (and the inspiration, if not the execution, of Edward Tufte) to create a “family tree” chart of Slovakia’s parties that would allow a relatively quick visual assessment of party changes over time. Since then the changes have slowed, but thanks to the intervention of Bela Kersagh, the chart has become extremely easy to update and so I present it here in its newly colored glory along with a table with more or less the same information. On reviewing the chart I realize that I have not always followed the same rules for inclusion and exclusion (in the shifts among small parties, for example) and so I ask forgiveness for the minor imprecision). It is my goal over the next several years to develop a standard scheme for displaying such a chart and working with other academics in the region to develop a standardized set that might find their way to public sites such as this one or Wikipedia.
The chart and table are below. They are also available as in pdf format: http://www.la.wayne.edu/polisci/kdk/pozorblog/Slovakia Party Tree and Table 2008.pdf
Postscript: I have recently discovered that this kind of diagram is really nothing new, nothing but a modified Sankey Diagram, commonly used in the energy industry and materials industry to track flows in a closed system. This works because parliamentary seats represent a similarly closed system, though, unlike the energy diagrams, we cannot say exactly where the seats “go,” since voting is secret. Hence our Sankey has abrupt and opaque reorganizations of overall allocation during every election but otherwise closely resembles the overall Sankey approach.