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Last updated at 14:04 BST, Tuesday, 03 April 2012

Presidential plagiarism


2 April 2012

The Hungarian President Pal Schmitt, has resigned after a university committee found that he had largely copied his 1992 doctoral thesis from the work of others. The report below was filed before resignation was announced.


Nick Thorpe

Hungarian president Pal Schmitt

Mr Schmitt has denied the accusation.


Click to hear the report


The allegations against President Schmitt began in January when a leading Hungarian weekly magazine, HVG, published what it said was clear proof that a large part of his 1992 doctoral thesis on the history of the Olympic games was a word-for-word translation of a work by a Bulgarian author.

President Schmitt is a well-respected former sportsman, who twice won Olympic medals in the Hungarian fencing team. He is also stalwart member of the governing Fidesz party, and was elected in 2010 for a 5-year term. An investigatory committee of the Budapest Semmelweis University confirmed that much of the thesis was copied, but criticised the former university authorities for failing to enforce sufficiently high standards.

Now the rector of the university has said he will begin proceedings tostrip the President of his honorary title of doctor. President Schmitt said that he had no intention of resigning. What happens next may depend on the degree of support he feels from his own party.


Click to hear the vocabulary



accusations made without proof


important and successful

doctoral thesis

piece of writing completed for a university doctorate

a word-for-word translation of

a translation written in exactly the same words as

fencing team

team that practise fencing, a sword-fighting sport





to strip

to deprive

honorary title

title given as an honour even if the person isn't officially qualified


quitting his job