The latest chapter in German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg’s bible of bloopers may be the final straw for his public image.
He is now accused of plagiarism in his doctoral thesis, obtained in 2007 and published in book form in 2009. Entire passages, including spelling mistakes, appear to have been lifted from newspaper and magazine articles, academic journals and speeches, think tanks, universities, and even works from the US embassy, without citations. At least 15 authors have allegedly had their work stolen.
“He has the chance to say: ‘OK, bad things happen! I made a mistake, I did not deliver an academically rigorous work.’ But in any case, he will have a problem regaining his credibility and the sympathy and support he’s had in the polls until now”, said political counsellor Klaus-Peter Schmidt-Deguelle.
The 39 year-old Baron enjoys a straight-talking reputation, and has a glamorous image. Many have tipped him as a future Chancellor. Credibility has seen him through armed forces scandals in Afghanistan and on the training ship Gorch Fock. Observers say the only elegant escape may be for him to surrender his Beyreuth University diploma.