The German government’s Minister for Family Affairs, the Elderly, Women and Youth, Francisca Giffay, has resigned over allegations of plagiarism of part of her doctoral dissertation, Bloomberg reports. The resignation must be approved by the President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
The Free University of Berlin is currently conducting a review of the scientific work.
The politician said on Wednesday that she plans to remain the leading candidate of the Social Democrats in the Berlin mayoral election and will focus on her election campaign.
“I continue to state that I did my job in accordance with my knowledge and beliefs,” Giffay wrote. “I have accepted the consequences of this ongoing and stressful process.”
In August 2019, Giffay promised to resign if her Ph.D. was revoked. However, Svobodny University did not revoke the academic degree of the minister, limiting itself to a warning. This decision was fiercely criticized, after which the university promised to review it.
In November 2020, Giffay was forced to give up her academic degree. At the time, she claimed that she had written her dissertation “honestly and conscientiously” and relied on the Free University’s opinion that revoking her degree would be “disproportionate” to the errors made in her work.
It should be noted that in Germany, not the first politician was at the center of a scandal due to accusations of plagiarism. The most famous member of this list is Karl — Theodor Guttenberg, a member of the Christian Social Union, who was the country’s defense minister at the time of the plagiarism in 2011.
In 2015, another German defense minister, Ursula von der Leyen, was also accused of plagiarism. In her dissertation on medicine in 1991, they found borrowings. Despite the scandal, von der Leyen retained her degree. Later, Stanford University made claims against her because of the use of the name of the university in the resume, although she attended it as a free listener. And this time the politician got off with a fright.
In the run-up to the national and local elections in Berlin, which will be held on September 26, according to an Insa poll, the SPD is supported by 20% of the capital’s voters, while the Greens are supported by 25%. Nationwide, the Social Democrats rank third after Merkel’s conservative bloc and the Greens.