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German education minister quits after university withdraws doctorate, months before election

Germany's education minister has resigned after a university decided to withdraw her doctorate, finding that she plagiarized parts of her thesis — an embarrassment for Chancellor Angela Merkel's government months before national elections.

Merkel said Saturday that she had accepted minister Annette Schavan's resignation "with a very heavy heart."

On Tuesday, Duesseldorf's Heinrich Heine University decided to revoke Schavan's doctorate following a review of her 1980 thesis, which dealt with the formation of conscience. The review was undertaken after an anonymous blogger last year raised plagiarism allegations, which the minister has denied.

Schavan's resignation comes two years after then-Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg lost his doctorate and quit when it emerged that he copied large parts of his doctoral thesis.