Romanian PM under fire over accusations of plagiarism

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Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca denied accusations that he plagiarised parts of his doctoral thesis which could further weaken confidence in his grand coalition government two months after taking office.

An investigation by news website PressOne accused Ciuca, a retired army general, of plagiarising roughly a third of his thesis in 2003 on military science and copying passages from two other papers without attribution.

Ciuca denied the allegations and said in a statement he wrote the paper “in accordance with the legal requirements existing at the time,” adding he has asked the ethics committee of the National Defense University – which issued his doctoral title – to verify his work. The university said it will do so.

“The subject choice of my doctoral thesis is predominantly based on my personal experience accumulated in international missions,” Ciuca said. “The public accusations cannot be scientifically supported in any way.”

Plagiarism charges are widespread in the European Union state among lawmakers, former cabinet ministers and magistrates, further eroding trust in institutions. Former leftist Prime Minister Victor Ponta handed back his doctorate after plagiarism charges against him were confirmed.

Ciuca’s coalition government was endorsed with overwhelming majority by parliament in late November after a two-month long political stalemate during the country’s deadliest COVID-19 wave since the start of the pandemic.

(Reporting by Luiza Ilie Editing by Marguerita Choy)

Photo – Romania’s Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca. EPA-EFE/ROBERT GHEMENT

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