Berlin (AFP) – Germany's centre-left parliamentary opposition leader Frank-Walter Steinmeier denied allegations Sunday that he plagiarised parts of his PhD thesis after similar charges have claimed several political scalps in recent years.
The University of Giessen in central Hesse state said it would study the allegation made by a university professor who used special software to find unsourced text passages from other works.
Steinmeier, 57, a former foreign minister and vice chancellor and a key figure in the Social Democratic Party (SPD), dismissed as "absurd" the claim, published in news weekly Focus.
"Should Giessen University decide to launch a review, I would view this with great serenity," he said.
The university said it would decide by Monday how to proceed.
Focus reported that economics professor Uwe Kamenz of Muenster in North Rhine-Westphalia had said he found "extensive" evidence of plagiarism in Steinmeier's 1991 law thesis.
In February, German education minister Annette Schavan quit over a PhD plagiarism scandal, two years after defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg also resigned for cheating on his doctoral thesis.