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Romanian Prime Minister Accused of Plagiarism

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A statue of Lady Justice holding scales. (Image credit: <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-221230p1.html">Rob Wilson</a>, <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/index-in.mhtml">Shutterstock</a>)

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
Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science. She covers the world of human and animal behavior, as well as paleontology and other science topics. Stephanie has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has ducked under a glacier in Switzerland and poked hot lava with a stick in Hawaii. Stephanie hails from East Tennessee, the global center for salamander diversity. Follow Stephanie on Google+.