New plagiarism scandal hits Merkel before polls
ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
German Chancellor Merkel (L) and Education Minister Schavan sit in Bundestag. AP PhotoChancellor Angela Merkel gave guarded support yesterday to a close cabinet ally facing calls to resign over plagiarism allegations, charges that are similar to accusations that brought down her defense minister and heir-apparent last year.
Merkel said she had confidence in Education Minister Annette Schavan after Der Spiegel magazine reported that a University of Duesseldorf examination of her 1980 doctoral thesis concluded parts were plagiarized and recommended taking away her PhD. Schavan, a member of Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), has denied the charges. She was among the first to condemn then-Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg for plagiarizing his PhD thesis, calling it “shameful.” He later resigned in disgrace.
The charges against Schavan are more troublesome for Merkel in part because they come one year before the next election and also because, as education minister, Schavan’s credibility is directly on the line with the issue of plagiarism. “I have full confidence in the minister,” Merkel said. “I completely reject the charges,” Schavan said.