Feb. 9 - Angela Merkel's education minister Annette Schavan resigns just days after the University of Duesseldorf stripped her of her doctorate. Deborah Gembara reports.
She's one of Angela Merkel's closest allies --- but Education Minister Annette Schavan is stepping down amid allegations she plagiarized part of her doctoral thesis prompted her to resign. SOUNDBITE: German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying (German): "I have accepted her resignation with a heavy heart." The move came four days after the University of Duesseldorf stripped Schavan of her doctorate, ruling that she had "systematically and intentionally" copied parts of her thesis which she received more than 30 years ago. Merkel, who lost her Defense Minister in a similar scandal two years ago, made no mention of the charges against Schavan. Shavan says she is fighting the ruling. SOUNDBITE: German Education Minister Annette Schavan saying (German): "I will not accept this decision and will take legal action over it. I did neither copy anything or cheat in my thesis. The accusations - as I have said before in recent weeks and months - hurt me deeply." While embarrassing, Schavan's resignation isn't expected to affect Merkelchances of winning a third term this September.