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

Countering China

Countering China

PM Modi to ramp up help for Indian Ocean nations to counter China influence  Full Article 

'India's Daughter'

'India's Daughter'

Society created Delhi gang rape convicts: Filmmaker Leslee Udwin.  Full Article | Related Story 

Kohli Censured

Kohli Censured

BCCI warns Virat Kohli against repeat of misbehaviour.  Full Article 

MUDRA Bank

MUDRA Bank

Funding the unfunded: India helps small business borrow to grow  Full Article 

PML(N)'s Hope

PML(N)'s Hope

Pakistan's ruling party looks for gains in upper house election  Full Article 

For Women's Right

For Women's Right

Afghan men don burqas, take to the streets for women's rights.  Full Article 

U.S. Envoy Attacked

U.S. Envoy Attacked

Knife-wielding attacker slashes face of U.S. ambassador in South Korea  Full Article 

New Strategy

New Strategy

Ashwin mulls 'one-sided' ploy against big-hitters.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

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