Romanian Prime Minister Accused of Plagiarism

Lady Justice holding the scales of justice.
A statue of Lady Justice holding scales. (Image credit: Rob Wilson, Shutterstock)

The prime minister of Romania has been accused of plagiarism, a charge that comes fresh on the heels of the resignation of the country's research minister because of misconduct.

According to Nature News, an anonymous whistleblower has compiled documents showing that more than half of Prime Minister Victor Ponta's doctoral thesis in law is duplicated from other texts. In 2003, Ponta received his doctorate from the University of Bucharest. The thesis allegedly lifts text from monographs by Romanian law scholars Dumitru Diaconu and Vasile Cretu. Some of the text also appears to be a direct Romanian translation of an English-language work by scholar Ion Diaconu.

The thesis was republished in 2004 as a book and is also the basis of a 2010 book on international humanitarian law, Nature News reported.

The plagiarism accusations follow a scandal in which the country's research minister Ioan Mang was accused of plagiarism in eight of his papers. An investigation is ongoing, but Mang resigned his government post last month.

Ponta is not the only government leader to face plagiarism allegations in recent years. In April, Hungarian president Pal Schmitt resigned after his doctoral degree was stripped from him. A Semmelweis University panel found that Schmitt had copied 16 pages of text from a German author and had lifted sections and charts from a Bulgarian writer and inserted them in his thesis. In May, an anonymous accuser created a website accusing German education and research minister Annette Schavan of plagiarizing parts of her dissertation, as well. Those charges are under investigation.

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Stephanie Pappas
Live Science Contributor

Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.