Romanian prime minister Victor Ponta dismissed accusations of plagiarism in the case of his his PhD thesis in statements he made on Monday evening and Tuesday morning. He said he was ready to stand before any commission to show the allegations were baseless and that he believed President Traian Basescu was behind the appearance of the accusations in Nature magazine.
- Nature magazine quoted a whistle-blower when it reported on Monday that Ponta was accused of copying large portions of other publications in his 2003 PhD thesis without properly quoting them. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung also published a report on the issue. Read more on the issue
Upon his return from a visit to Vienna on Monday evening, he suggested the accusations were linked to a conflict between him and President Traian Basescu about who should represent Romania at the upcoming European Council. He pointed out the head of state sent signals in three separate statements last week that there was something wrong about Ponta holding a PhD in law. "I will still go to the European Council", Ponta said.
On Tuesday morning, he showed his PhD thesis to the press and said the only issue which may raise questions was he didn't mark sources in page footers. He said every author he referred was listed in the bibliography.
And Ponta, who heads a government of Social Democrats and Liberals, alleged the whistle-blower was presidential aide Daniel Funeriu, who had served as Education minister in the previous Democratic Liberal government, which was loyal to President Traian Basescu.
He said he would not yield before such attacks.
The installation of Ponta's government was marked by a chain of accusations that some of the proposed ministers, including one for the education portfolio, have been involved in acts of plagiarism.