Romanian Council Says Premier Ponta Plagiarized Thesis

A Romanian council in charge of certifying university diplomas found that Prime Minister Victor Ponta plagiarized his doctoral thesis, Marius Andruh, the council’s head said.

The council’s decision will be sent as a recommendation to the Education Ministry that it withdraw Ponta’s doctoral title, Andruh told reporters in Bucharest today. The Romanian interim Education Minister Liviu Pop told Mediafax today that the decision is void because of a lack of a quorum. He also said that an ethics committee is entitled to rule on the plagiarism allegations.

Ponta told Spanish newspaper El Pais yesterday that he will resign if the ethics committee rules that he plagiarized his doctoral thesis. It was the first time in the 10 days since the allegations emerged in Nature magazine and Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on June 18. He denied the allegations and said on June 19 that he had no reason to resign.

Ponta’s doctoral thesis “was analyzed page by page and we found that 85 of the 307 pages are copied without indicating the source,” Andruh said. “It’s copy-paste plagiarism.”

Earlier today, the education minister, whose 45-day mandate expires at midnight, said he issued an order to expand the number of members of the National Council for Certification of University Titles, Diplomas and Certificates to 45 from 21. Pop told Mediafax that he changed the structure of the council because it failed to meet a June 28 deadline to send an assessment to the ministry over the country’s doctoral theses validation proceedings.

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