Hungarian president Pal Schmitt resigned today, just days after vowing he wouldn’t step down from office over allegations that he plagiarized parts of his doctoral dissertation, CNN is reporting. The country’s prime minister’s office confirmed the news, after protesters called for his resignation last week over the accusation.
The news of Schmitt’s resignation comes after he appeared on the public access television station M1 on Friday, when he said he has a clean conscience. “I have written my thesis with my best knowledge I had at the time, and I never intended to plagiarize. However, I will accept the decision of the (University) Senate that has withdrawn my doctorate,” he said. He added that he felt the allegation had nothing to do with him being president.
Schmitt wrote his dissertation for the University of Physical Education in 1992, and the allegations surfaced in January. The Hungarian HVG weekly first reported that his dissertation was copied, after which the university investigated. The school’s inquiry found that large parts were plagiarized; more than 200 pages of the 215-page paper showed “partial similarity” to other works, or were direct translations.
After the findings, the university stripped Schmitt of his doctorate. The school’s investigators said “since the former candidate’s doctoral dissertation is based on lengthy literal translations, it does not meet the professional and ethical criteria of the…requirement for obtaining a university doctorate.”
Written by: Karen Benardello