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Hungarian president not to resign over plagiarism scandal

(Xinhua)

09:01, March 31, 2012

BUDAPEST, March 30 (Xinhua) -- Hungary's President Pal Schmitt said on Friday in a highly awaited televised statement that he would not resign despite the plagiarism scandal of his doctoral thesis.

The president, a former Olympic champion fencer in 1968 and 1972, said he would write a new PhD thesis which would comply with current academic requirement.

He underlined that he had never had any benefit, financial or otherwise from the doctorate, though he acknowledged that the thesis was not original. But it nevertheless brought new information to Hungary, which he said was an alternate requirement for a thesis at that time.

"I did not want to declare anyone's intellectual product my own," Schmitt said, adding that he had behaved as a "simple student" who followed the rules of his institution. "It was honorable achievement."

Besides, Schmitt sharply criticized Semmelweis University for revoking his doctorate without giving him a hearing.

Schmitt, 69, who took office in August of 2010 with the full support of the ruling Fidesz party and Prime Minister Viktor Orban, had been under investigation for months, after local media revealed that the president had copied most of his doctoral thesis from papers written by other researchers.

An investigating committee on Tuesday cleared Hungarian President Pal Schmitt of plagiarizing his university thesis, even though it contained "duplications" on the works of other authors.

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