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German Greens' candidate defends herself against plagiarism claim

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
German Greens' candidate defends herself against plagiarism claim
Greens' candidate Annalena Baerbock. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fabian Sommer

Annalena Baerbock, the German Greens' faltering candidate for chancellor, has defended herself against claims she had plagiarised the work of others in a book published last month.

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Baerbock, who earlier appeared to be in position to succeed Angela Merkel as the German leader, has suffered several setbacks and now trails the conservative party in opinion polls ahead of a general election in September.

Most recently, she was accused by Stefan Weber, an Austrian who tracks plagiarism, of having copied several passages in her book "Jetzt" (Now).

Weber highlighted half a dozen parts he says were copied from institutional websites or from the influential centre-left German weekly Der Spiegel.

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"Many ideas from other people were integrated" in the book, Baerbock told Brigitte, a top German magazine for women, in comments published on its website on Thursday. 

"I did not write a specialised work or something like that, I wrote what I want to do with this country, and also described the world as it is, with
facts and realities."

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The 40-year-old Green leader noted that since she was designated in April as its candidate for chancellor, she had become the target of a "fake news" campaign.

She was accused for example of wanting to "get rid of dogs" to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and of having posed naked when she was younger.

But the latest charge represents another hurdle in the wake of "errors" that Baerbock has already acknowledged, notably her failure to declare to
parliament a bonus she had received from the party, and inaccuracies on her CV that have since been corrected.

A survey by the Insa institute that was published Thursday by the popular tabloid Bild found that 58 percent of those questioned felt she was "not
worthy of trust".

Meanwhile, the Greens have slipped from frontrunners in the September 26th election to second place behind the conservative CDU-CSU alliance, with 20 percent and 28 percent respectively, according to ARD, a public television channel.

Merkel herself is not seeking another term and is to step down after 16 years as head of Europe's leading economic power.

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