Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin - Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin - Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions?

Read more

FOCUS

Pakistan's Ahmadis living in fear of extremist attacks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users show solidarity with Iraqi Christians

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Gilles Kepel, Islamic and Arab world specialist

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina braced for another debt default

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'What would you do?'

Read more

  • Deadly shelling strikes Gaza UN school

    Read more

  • Dozens killed in stampede at Guinea rap concert

    Read more

  • Rats on the rampage at Louvre museum gardens

    Read more

  • US and EU slap Russia with fresh sanctions over Ukraine

    Read more

  • 'Compelling' signs Kosovo leaders trafficked organs, prosecutor says

    Read more

  • Europe launches last resupply ship to space station

    Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • Islamists seize key Benghazi army base as fuel fire rages on

    Read more

  • In pictures: ن - a sign of support for Iraq’s persecuted Christians

    Read more

  • Calls mount to ban France’s ‘violent’ Jewish Defence League

    Read more

  • Venezuela: Hugo Chavez’s ‘little bird’ strikes again

    Read more

  • France extradites suspected Jewish Museum shooter to Belgium

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Rare Sri Lankan leopard cubs born in French zoo

    Read more

Europe

German education minister quits amid plagiarism accusations

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-02-10

Germany’s Education Minister Annette Schavan resigned on Saturday after a university accused her of plagiarising her thesis and withdrew her doctorate, a blow to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government as it prepares for elections later in the year.

Germany’s education minister resigned Saturday after a university decided to withdraw her doctorate, finding that she plagiarized parts of her thesis - an embarrassment for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government as it prepares for elections later this year.

Merkel said she had accepted "only with a very heavy heart" the resignation of Annette Schavan, who has been her education and research minister since 2005 and was considered close to the chancellor.

On Tuesday, Duesseldorf’s Heinrich Heine University decided to revoke Schavan’s doctorate following a review of her 1980 thesis, which dealt with the formation of conscience. The review was undertaken after an anonymous blogger last year raised allegations of plagiarism, which the minister denies.

"I will not accept this decision - I neither copied nor deceived in my dissertation," she told reporters, speaking alongside Merkel at a brief news conference. "The accusations ... hurt me deeply."

Schavan made clear that she was going to prevent the issue turning into a festering problem for her party, and the government, as Germany gears up for parliamentary elections on Sept. 22 in which the conservative Merkel will seek a third term.

Schavan, a member of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, announced her decision after returning from an official trip to South Africa during which, she said, she thought "thoroughly about the political consequences."

"If a research minister files a suit against a university, that of course places strain on my office, my ministry, the government and the CDU as well," she said. "And that is exactly what I want to avoid."

Merkel offered lengthy praise of Schavan’s "exceptional" performance as a minister, adding that "at this time, she is putting her own personal well-being behind the common good."

Schavan will be replaced by Johanna Wanka, the outgoing regional education minister in the state of Lower Saxony, Merkel said. That state’s conservative-led government narrowly lost a regional election to the center-left opposition last month.

Schavan’s resignation comes two years after then-Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg lost his doctorate and quit when it emerged that he copied large parts of his doctoral thesis.

Doctorates are highly prized in Germany, where it is not unusual for people to insist on being referred to by their full academic title.

Despite the coalition government’s setback Lower Saxony, in northwestern Germany, polls show that Merkel remains popular with voters; her challenger from the center-left Social Democrats, Peer Steinbrueck, has struggled to gain traction. Most recent polls show a majority neither for Merkel’s current center-right coalition with the pro-market Free Democrats nor for a rival combination of the Social Democrats and Greens.

They show Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats as the strongest single party. That suggests the chancellor may be able to carry on with a new coalition partner.

It’s also unclear that the Schavan affair will provide political ammunition for the opposition.

The usually low-profile minister’s troubles over her three-decade-old thesis have drawn a much more measured response from opponents than in the case of Guttenberg, a rising conservative star at the time he quit.

On Friday, Sigmar Gabriel, the chairman of the Social Democrats, described Schavan as "a notably smart and, from my point of view, decent colleague."

(AP)

Date created : 2013-02-09

COMMENT(S)