Close Merkel ally quits in German plagiarism scandal

BERLIN Sat Feb 9, 2013 7:41pm IST

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and Education Minister Annette Schavan arrive for a statement to the media in Berlin February 9, 2013. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and Education Minister Annette Schavan arrive for a statement to the media in Berlin February 9, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Tobias Schwarz

Related Topics

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Education Minister Annette Schavan resigned on Saturday after being stripped of her doctorate for alleged plagiarism, in an embarrassing blow to her ally Angela Merkel.

The move came four days after the University of Duesseldorf ruled Schavan, a close confidante to the chancellor, had "systematically and intentionally" copied parts of her thesis, and withdrew her Ph.D, granted more than 30 years ago.

"Annette Schavan offered her resignation last night," Merkel told reporters.

"I accepted this resignation with a very heavy heart," the chancellor added, saying Schavan was putting the public good ahead of her own welfare.

Merkel, who lost her defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg in a similar scandal two years ago, made no mention of the charges against Schavan.

Schavan, who said their friendship would last, reiterated she would fight the university's decision to strip her of her degree.

"I will not accept the decision and will take legal action against it," Schavan told reporters. "When an (education) minister sues a university, then that comes with strains, for my office, for the ministry, the government and for the Christian Democrats. I want to avoid just that."

While awkward for Merkel, Schavan's resignation is seen as unlikely to weaken the chancellor's chances to win a third term in elections on September 22. Her Christian Democrats regularly poll above 40 percent, giving them an easy lead over the main opposition Social Democrats. (Reporting by Berlin bureau, writing by Annika Breidthardt; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

FILED UNDER:

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Forceful Conversions

Forceful Conversions

BJP distances itself from religious conversions.  Full Article 

Photo

Fund Raising

Flipkart raises $700 million in fresh funding.   Full Article 

Reforms Push

Reforms Push

Modi may order insurance, coal reforms if vote delayed - officials.  Full Article 

Economic Pulse

Economic Pulse

Crank up public spending to revive growth - chief economic adviser.  Full Article 

Reuters Exclusive

Reuters Exclusive

India looks to sway Americans with nuclear power insurance plan  Full Article 

Down Under

Down Under

Magic Johnson inspires Australia to second test win.  Full Article 

Going International

Going International

Bollywood’s Priyanka Chopra sets sights on American TV.  Full Article 

India This Week

India This Week

Some of our best photos from this week.   Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device   Full Coverage