Minister quits after plagarism discovery

Former German Education Minister Annette Schavan
Former German Education Minister Annette Schavan

BERLIN — German Education Minister Annette Schavan has resigned after a university stripped her of her doctorate for plagiarism.

Duesseldorf’s Heinrich Heine University voted last Tuesday to remove her doctorate following a review.

Schavan, a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, insisted she would still fight the university’s ruling.

In 2011, Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg also quit after allegations he plagiarised his thesis.

Johanna Wanka, the culture and science minister of the state of Lower Saxony, has been appointed as Schavan’s successor.

Part of the education minister’s brief is to oversee German universities.

Addressing Merkel with the words “Dear Angela”, Schavan thanked the chancellor for her friendship.

“I think today is the right day to leave my ministerial post and to concentrate on my duties as a member of parliament,” the 57-year-old said.

“I will not accept the university’s decision and will take legal action. I have never copied nor plagiarised. The accusations hit me very hard.”

Schavan added that her main priority was to protect her department and the government.

“First the nation, then the party, then myself,” Schavan said, citing words used by former state prime minister Erwin Teufel.

“When an education minister sues a university, then that comes with strains, for my office, for the ministry, and for the Christian Democrats. I want to avoid just that.” (BBC)

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