Close Merkel ally resigns in plagiarism scandal
BERLIN (AFP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel suffered a major political blow less than eight months before elections when her education minister, a close ally, resigned on Saturday over plagiarism allegations.
Ms Merkel said she had accepted the resignation of Annette Schavan "with a heavy heart" after her former university stripped her of her doctorate, saying she had plagiarised parts of her thesis "Person and Conscience" 33 years ago.
Ms Schavan reiterated her vow to fight the allegations but said she did not want the claims to damage the office, the party or the federal government.
"I think today is the right day to leave my ministerial post and to concentrate on my duties as a member of parliament," said a visibly moved Ms Schavan.