Hungarian President Resigns over 'Bulgarian' Plagiarism
Hungarian President Pal Schmitt has resigned after losing doctorate in a plagiarism scandal that involves copying from Bulgarian researcher Nikolai Georgiev, among others.
"Under the constitution, the president must represent the unity of the Hungarian nation. I have unfortunately become a symbol of division, I feel it is my duty to leave my position," Schmitt told his country's Parliament on Monday, as cited by international media.
Schmitt initially resisted resigning, stating that the doctorate scandal has nothing to do with his presidency.
The Hungarian magazine HGV published in January an article revealing that a large part of Schmitt's dissertation, written in 1992, was an exact translation of Bulgarian researcher Nikolay Georgiev's Analyse du programme olympique (des Jeux d'Olympiade). A total of 180 of the 215-page dissertation of the Hungarian president were copied from Georgiev.
On 19 January, news organizations found that an additional 17 pages had been lifted from a paper by German sport sociologist Klaus Heinemann.
In the aftermath, the Semmelweis University formed a five-member panel which formally cleared Schmidt of plagiarizing his doctoral dissertation, but proposed that his doctorate be withdrawn based on the findings of its inquiry into the allegations.
Pal Schmitt, 69, became President of Hungary since 2010. He served as an ambassador during the 1990s, and was a Vice President of the European Parliament from 2009 to 2010. After briefly serving as Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary in 2010, Schmitt was elected as President of Hungary in a 263 to 59 vote in the Parliament. Schmitt is a supporter of the second cabinet of Viktor Orban.
Schmitt was a successful fencer in his youth, winning two gold medals at the Summer Olympics.
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