Hungarian Rector Quits over 'Bulgarian' Plagiarism Outrage

Society | April 2, 2012, Monday // 10:47|  views

Hungarian President Pal Schmitt speaks at a gala evening celebrating Hungary`s new constitution at the Opera House in Budapest. Photo by EPA/BGNES

The President of Budapest's Semmelweis University, Tivadar Tulassay, has resigned over the plagiarism scandal with Hungarian Head of State Pal Schmitt.

Last week, Budapest University of Medicine and Sport "Ignaz Semmelweis" withdrew Schmitt's doctoral degree for plagiarism in writing his thesis.

According to the university website, Tulassay has resigned because he believes that he had lost the trust of senior politicians, particularly the Ministry of National Resources, and had been left alone to handle Schmitt's case.

Sky News reports that on Sunday Schmitt told the Hungarian national radio that only the law courts, rather than the university, could revoke his doctorate.

The Hungarian magazine HGV published in January an article revealing that a large part of Schmitt's dissertation, written in 1992, was an exact translation of Bulgarian researcher Nikolay Georgiev's Analyse du programme olympique (des Jeux d'Olympiade). A total of 180 of the 215-page dissertation of the Hungarian president were copied from Georgiev.

In the aftermath, the Semmelweis University formed a five-member panel which formally cleared Schmidt of plagiarizing his doctoral dissertation, but proposed that his doctorate be withdrawn based on the findings of its inquiry into the allegations.

Hungary's four parliamentary opposition parties have urged Schmitt to resign amidst growing media pressure.

Pal Schmitt, 69, has been President of Hungary since 2010. He served as an ambassador during the 1990s, and was a Vice President of the European Parliament from 2009 to 2010. After briefly serving as Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary in 2010, Schmitt was elected as President of Hungary in a 263 to 59 vote in the Parliament. Schmitt is a supporter of the second cabinet of Viktor Orban.

Schmitt was a successful fencer in his youth, winning two gold medals at the Summer Olympics. He later became the Chief of Protocol of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and presided over the World Olympians Association between 1999 and 2007.

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Tags: Tivadar Tulassay, Hungarian, plagiarizing, Bulgarian, researcher, Nikolai Georgiev, sports, expert, sport, Olympics, dissertation, doctoral, Pal Schmitt, president, Hungary, Bulgaria, Semmelweis, degree


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