UPDATE The CNATDCU council of scholars has decided: Ponta was involved in "copy-paste plagiarism case". Council head Marius Andruh said in a press conference that the council analyzed prime minister's doctoral thesis "page by page" and found that 85 of a total of 307 pages were copied from other works without source quotation. And it pointed out that in the case of 40 pages of the thesis no source was mentioned. The Council said it has sent the Education Ministry a proposal to withdraw Ponta's doctoral title.
The verdict was voted by 13 of the CNATDCU members. Interim Education minister Liviu Pop said Friday afternoon that all decisions made by CNATDCU on Friday were invalid as a minimum number of 14 voting members was needed for the analysis session to be statutory.
- Nature magazine and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung circulated accusations earlier this month that Romanian PM Victor Ponta copied large parts of his doctoral thesis from other works of Romanian law experts. Ponta shortly dismissed the charges, but showed readiness that a commission analyze the accusations.
Sources told HotNews.ro and other media on Friday afternoon that the body of scholars studying the charges, CNATDCU, have found that Ponta was indeed involved in an act of plagiarism. The body had convened in the morning to study the charges.
But the CNATDCU council in its latest form had just been dismissed through a decision late on Thursday by interim Education minister Liviu Pop. The minister's decision was published by the Official Gazette first thing in the morning on Friday.
It was one of Pop's last decisions, as today was his last day in office. And it could be published hastily in the Official Gazette thanks to a Governmental decision on Wednesday, which moved the Gazette from the authority of the Chamber of Deputies to that of the Government.
It was thus possible that the changes to the CNATDCU structure - expanding it from 20 to 45 members - be applied before CNATDCU in its latest form could make an official decision regarding Ponta's doctoral thesis.
On Thuesday, Victor Ponta told El Pais newspaper that he would resign should a council analyzing the charges of plagiarism decide that he actually copied parts of his thesis. He reaffirmed his stand that the accusations were politically motivated.
While in Brussels for the European Council on Friday, Ponta said he would not answer questions on the issue but only questions on EU events.
- The move of the Official Gazette from the authority of the Chambers of Deputies to that of the Government also allowed the quick publication of a parliamentary note on the resignation of Senator Dan Voiculescu, an influential member of the governing coalition. As a Senator, Dan Voiculescu should have soon learned a High Court verdict in a corruption case related to his involvement in the privatization of a food research institute. But as he is no longer a Senator once the parliamentary note on his resignation was published, the High Court was forced to move the case to an inferior court. The process is thus prolonged and may last beyond a deadline of prescription.