Germany’s defence minister has resigned over accusations that he copied parts of his university dissertation for his doctorate.
Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said there were also other reasons for his departure
“This is the most bitter step I have taken in my life,” he said. “I take this step not only because of my faulty PhD thesis, although I understand that this alone would be enough reason for a large section of the academic community. The reason is in particular whether I am still able to meet my own highest standards of responsibility.”
“I was always ready to fight but I have overestimated the extent of my power,” he added.
Zu Guttenberg, until now seen by some as a possible future leader, was viewed as the most popular member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet and his loss is a blow to her ruling Christian Democrat Party. The CDU is preparing to contest three regional state elections later this month.
The admission that he copied large parts of his thesis without attributing the sources has damaged his carefully nurtured image for honesty and integrity.