German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and Education Minister Annette Schavan.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and Education Minister Annette Schavan. Photo by Reuters
Text size
related tags

Germany’s education minister resigned Saturday after a university decided to withdraw her doctorate, finding that she plagiarized parts of her thesis − an embarrassment for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government as it prepares for elections later this year.

Merkel said she had accepted “only with a very heavy heart” the resignation of Annette Schavan, who has been her education and research minister since 2005 and was considered close to the chancellor.

On Tuesday, an academic panel at Duesseldorf’s Heinrich Heine University voted to revoke Schavan’s doctorate following a review of her 1980 thesis, which dealt with the formation of conscience. The review was undertaken after an anonymous blogger last year raised allegations of plagiarism, which the minister denies.

At a press briefing, Schavan, 57, made clear that she was going to prevent the issue from turning into a festering problem for her party, the Christian Democratic Union, and the government. Germany is gearing up for parliamentary elections on September 22 in which the conservative Merkel will seek a third term.