Spanish president hits back at accusations of plagiarism in PhD thesis
Pedro Sánchez latest to become embroiled in ongoing qualifications scandal
Spain's president, Pedro Sánchez, has hit back at accusations he plagiarized his PhD thesis, as suggested in reports published in Spanish media ABC and Ok Diario.
"The information appearing in some media insinuating the existence of plagiarism in the writing of my doctoral thesis is entirely false. I will undertake legal action in defence of my honour and dignity if they do not rectify what has been published," he wrote on Twitter.
Later on the day the Spanish government announced that Sánchez will publish his thesis after the accusations of plagiarism. Ciutadans and the People's Party have prompted him to appear before the Congress to give an explanation.
On Wednesday's session in the Spanish congress, Ciutadans (Cs) leader Albert Rivera asked Sánchez why his administration had vetoed a legal proposition demanding the publication of doctoral theses.
He called on the Spanish president directly to publish his own thesis to "dissipate doubts." Sánchez responded by saying that it is published on Spain's education ministry's thesis database, "as the law requires."
Although it can be consulted there, it is not possible to make photocopies. Thursday's media accusations of plagiarism have increased pressure on the Spanish leader to make his thesis public.
This comes in the light of the resignation of Spain's health minister Carmen Montón over perceived irregularities in her own Master's degree, opening a new chapter in the ongoing scandal about the authenticity of some Spanish politicians' qualifications.
Montón stepped down on Tuesday after the media reported that the Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid, where she got her degree in gender studies, had admitted that her results had been tampered. The university stated it had begun an investigation.
Despite receiving the backing of Pedro Sánchez, who praised Montón for her "extraordinary work," the final blow came when Spanish television reported that she had plagiarized a large part of her final thesis, and so Montón chose to go.
The controversy comes after doubts emerged about the authenticity of the qualifications of other Spanish politicians. In March, former head of the Madrid region, Cristina Cifuentes, was alleged to have fraudulently obtained her master's degree from the same university.
In fact, the Cifuentes affair led to reports emerging about alleged inconsistencies with the master's degree of the new head of the PP, Pablo Casado, as well, whose qualifications are now also subject to an investigation by the Rey Juan Carlos University.