Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjen plagiarized much of his sociology thesis, a university said on Friday, Dec 7, according to Reuters.
It is the second plagiarism scandal involving Hungarian politicians this year. In April President Pal Schmitt resigned after a university stripped him of his sports doctorate for copying chunks of his thesis without proper acknowledgement.
Budapest’s Eotvos Lorand University, which examined Semjen’s thesis after a local media report, said the deputy premier committed a severe ethical offence. But it ruled out any sanctions against him and he will keep his qualification.
Semjen is the head of the Christian Democratic Peoples’ Party, which is in an alliance with Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s ruling Fidesz.
The inquiry was launched after business website HVG.hu — which uncovered a similar controversy earlier this year that brought down Hungary’s president — raised doubts last month about Semjen’s 1992 thesis on a religious subject.
On Friday the prime minister’s office said Semjen acknowledged that the university would not initiate a procedure against him and “considered the matter closed”.
But in the statement, the government – which had previously called the HVG.hu report a “political provocation” – did not question the university’s findings.
Katalin Tausz, dean of the Social Sciences Faculty at the university, told a news conference that scholars examined Semjen’s thesis showed to see if there were any similarities with writings by his supervisor, Attila Karoly Molnar.
“The conclusion is that (Semjen’s thesis) contains, to a significant degree, verbatim texts without quotation from writings by Attila Karoly Molnar,” the dean said, according to a video of the news conference posted by news website index.hu.