Accused of plagiarism, the Minister of Labor resigns

The Austrian Minister of Labor, Family and Youth announced her resignation on Saturday evening a year after taking office, following allegations of plagiarism relating to several academic works.

Christine Aschbacher, from the conservative ÖVP party like Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, explained in a statement that she was stepping down to “protect her family”, denouncing “the hostility, political agitation and attacks” unleashed against her with “unbearable force”.

The 37-year-old minister is accused of “plagiarism, incorrect quotes and ignorance of the German language” in her master’s thesis dated 2006, according to the blog of an expert specializing in the fraud tracking of academic titles, Stefan Weber.


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She had graduated with “very good” from the University of Applied Sciences in Wiener Neustadt, located not far from Vienna.

Same allegations against his thesis on “the style of management of innovative companies”, submitted in May 2020 to the Technical University of Bratislava in Slovakia, in the midst of a health crisis.

It is a 134-page “bunch of gibberish and nonsense”, at least a fifth of which is taken from other sources without the citations being attributed to their authors, including an article in Forbes magazine, writes M Weber.

Works written with “convictions”

Under fire from opposition critics, Christine Aschbacher “rejected” what she described as “innuendo”, assuring that she “always wrote her work to the best of her knowledge and convictions”.

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Chancellor Kurz, who governs the country in coalition with the Greens, said “to respect” the decision of his minister, a case which comes at a time when the government is under pressure for its management considered chaotic of the second wave of the Covid pandemic -19.
The name of his successor will be known on Monday, he said on his Twitter account.

In neighboring Germany, conservative defense ministers Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg and education ministers Annett Schavan had to resign in 2011 and 2013 respectively on similar charges. (AFP)

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