President resigns over claims of plagiarism in doctoral thesis


The president of Hungary, Pal Schmitt, resigned from his largely ceremonial post yesterday amid a storm of criticism over what he called “unfounded allegations” of plagiarism in his 1992 doctoral thesis.

His resignation followed days of political turmoil after the university in Budapest that awarded his doctoral degree stripped it from him last week.

“Based on Hungary’s constitution, which I have signed, the president expresses national unity,” Mr Schmitt told parliament. “In this situation when my personal issue divides my beloved nation rather than unites it, I feel it is my duty to end my service and resign my mandate as president.”

Semmelweis University said Schmitt’s paper did not meet the professional and ethical criteria required for a doctoral thesis after a panel at the university found that the paper contained 16 pages of identical translation from the 1991 work of a German author, Klaus Heinemann. Another 180 pages contained extracts identical to a 1987 work by Nikolay Gueorguiev, from Bulgaria. – New York Times