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Merkel under fire in Guttenberg affair

The Local · 1 Mar 2011, 08:55

Published: 01 Mar 2011 08:55 GMT+01:00

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Saxony's former premier, Kurt Biedenkopf of Merkel's own Christian Democratic party (CDU), slammed the chancellor's observation that she had not appointed an academic researcher to her cabinet, but a defence minister.

"The entire person has to be gauged, not just the office. And a person can't be split in two," he said. He echoed Bundestag speaker Norbert Lammert, also of the CDU, who called the plagiarism affair the "nail in the coffin" of the credibility of Germany's political class.

Parliamentary vice president Wolfgang Thierse from the centre-left Social Democrats also slammed Merkel for sticking to the defence minister, calling it akin to "schizophrenia."

"The chancellor is making a huge mistake if she thinks Guttenberg's fraud and his intellectual theft are not going to affect his office," he said. He accused her of dividing Guttenberg the private person from Guttenberg the minister.

"This kind of schizophrenia is completely unacceptable," Thierse said.

Voices from the world of academia have also grown increasingly critical of Guttenberg and Merkel. Oliver Lepsius, a legal scholar at the University of Bayreuth, where Guttenberg originally got his doctorate, has demanded the Minister's resignation.

"The academic community cannot accept these kinds of practices," he said. "If there are no consequences from the chancellor or the federal government, the relationship between science and politics is going to suffer appreciable damage."

When news of Guttenberg’s plagiarism broke nearly two weeks ago, the minister played down the matter, calling the allegations “abstruse.” But just days later he dropped his Dr. title, admitting that he made “serious errors,” though unintentionally.

His alma mater, the University of Bayreuth, later officially stripped Guttenberg of the title.

The president of the Helmholtz Society, Jürgen Mlynek, had sharp words for the general handling of the affair.

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"The public discussion of plagiarism and the general playing down of the matter concerns me greatly," he said. In the academic world, he added, "violations of rules against plagiarism generally carry penalties."


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:32 March 1, 2011 by Johnne
The major problem is that Karl-Theodor has refused to resign!why?? typical conservative..
10:18 March 1, 2011 by munchingmuschiinmünchen
The media needs to get a bigger story on KTzG to make him resign. Maybe an affair, or something along the lines of having a "wide stance when going to the bathroom and that his foot may have touched mine"...remember Larry Craig?
10:44 March 1, 2011 by Krim
Merkel and Westerwelle are asking to help Egypt build democracy. In the Guttenberg affair, I see them as real democrats. In this case one can see that all German citizens are treated equally. This poor guy from Bavaria was lucky in finding two brave CSU professors in helping go through a PhD program. Despite his position in the Parliament and many social engagement, a family with two kids. He was able to get a PhD with distinction. this poor guy did work hard in the parliament and was many times in New York where he worked hard for a better US/ Germany relationship. As a defense minister, he is involving even his wife for the good of our soldiers in Afghanistan. Even poor citizens can make it in this country. No discrimination against the poor. He deserves to stay as a minister.

Merkel is a real democrat. Germans should be proud of her.
11:01 March 1, 2011 by storymann
Guttenberg needs to step down on his own accord,Chancellor Merkel would only weaken herself if she publicly ask for his resignation.

I think Guttenberg is putting his own ambitions ahead of what is good for the party.

It's hard to believe that his popularity has increased in recent months,I have not heard any body speak positively about him since the scandal over the DR. title.

I can appreciate his hard work but that should be expected of him,using a title that he did not earn should not.
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