Hungarian president resigns in plagiarism scandal

This video is called Hungary president quits over plagiarism row.

From New Europe paper:

Pál Schmitt resigns in-midst of doctorate scandal

April 2, 2012 – 1:35pm

Hungarian President Pál Schmitt announced his resignation during a speech in front of Parliament on 2 April in the midst of his thesis doctorate plagiarism scandal. He was stripped of his doctorate following an investigation conducted by the highest-ranking decision making body of the Semmelweis University which found that Schmitt had copied virtually his entire thesis.

On 30 March, Schmitt had said that he had no intention to resign because “my conscience is clear”. However, this had changed over the weekend after inter-governmental pressure was mounting for him to step down.

Rector Tivadar Tulassay had announced his resignation on 29 March reasoning that he felt such a loss of confidence by the cabinet could already be damaging for the university.

See also here. And here.

On May 2, the Hungarian parliament will elect a new president. The ruling Fidesz (Civic Union) party has a two-thirds majority and the election of its candidate, European Parliament deputy Janos Ader, is regarded as guaranteed. Ader is a close associate of Prime Minister Victor Orban. His assumption of the country’s highest office will invariably consolidate and advance the policies of Orban’s right-wing government: here.

Hungarian President’s plagiarism on Olympics

Not just the conservative German Minister of War “Defence”, and a leading German politician of the “free market” Free Democratic rightist government coalition party, turn out to be plagiarists.

Pál Schmitt

In Hungary, a member of Prime Minister Orbán’s ruling Rightist Party, Pál Schmitt, is president. Sorry, I forgot: Doctor Pál Schmitt. He wrote a thesis on the history of the Olympic Games.

Sorry again: now it turns out that “Dr” Pál Schmitt copied 200 out of the 215 pages of his thesis from others without acknowledgement. “Dr” Pál Schmitt is no longer a doctor. But he still wants to continue to be President.

From Budapost in Hungary:

President misses opportunity to save his dignity

March 30th, 2012

The two leading dailies contend that President Pál Schmitt should have resigned after a fact-finding committee identified academic dishonesty in his doctoral thesis. A left-wing analyst, on the other hand, hopes that Schmitt will stay in office to remind Hungarians of the moral bankruptcy of the Orbán government.

After the delivery of the report of the fact-finding committee investigating whether President Pál Schmitt was guilty of plagiarism (see BudaPost March 29), József Pálinkás, President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, claimed that both the University and Pál Schmitt violated academic standards. Ákos Fluck, a lawyer who was a member of the investigatory committee, published his opinion, in which he recommended that the committee propose the revocation of President Schmitt’s doctoral title. On Wednesday, the doctoral committee of SOTE followed this proposal, and the University Senate initiated proceedings to do so, and withdrew the degree the same evening.

The President missed a golden opportunity when he decided not to step down after the release of the report of the fact-finding committee, and claimed instead that the committee had cleared him of the plagiarism allegations, Magyar Nemzet writes in an op-ed piece. The paper also finds it highly disturbing that in their first statements after the release of the report, the governing parties chose to back the President.

According to the right-wing daily, those on the left who believe that the report will have no consequences are wrong. So are those on the right who claim that it acquits President Schmitt of the charges, for the report clearly states that Pál Schmitt violated basic principles of academic honesty.

Taking all this into account, President Schmitt, a former sports icon and successful diplomat, should have stepped down, in order to save the authority of Hungarian higher education and what has remained of his own dignity. Every day he spends in office will undermine public morals, Magyar Nemzet fears.

Népszabadság in a front page editorial suggests that President Schmitt was generously offered a possibility by the committee to save face, for the report stopped short of clearly charging him with outright plagiarism. One would have expected a former sportsman to respect fair play and admit his mistakes, the left-wing daily argues. By doing so, he would have also strengthened the belief in the rule of law, instead of sending the message that there are double standards, and some are above the rules.

Instead of demanding his resignation, we should hope that the President will remain in office, Zoltán Ripp remarks in Galamus. According to the left-wing political scientist, Fidesz would be the only beneficiary of Schmitt’s resignation. If he stays in office, his presence will remind the public of the total moral bankruptcy and absurdity of the Orbán regime, Ripp contends.