BUCHAREST, Romania – Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta named a new education minister on Wednesday after his two previous appointments were forced to quit over allegations of plagiarism and incompetence.
Ponta appointed Liviu Pop, a trade union leader, as education minister on Wednesday,
On Tuesday, Ioan Mang resigned from that Cabinet post after he was accused by researchers from Japan, Israel and Taiwan of copying their academic work on information technology in several of his papers as a faculty member at the University of Oradea in Romania.
"It seems there is an electric chair at the Education Ministry," said Ponta. " I hope we can establish the truth ... to understand why there are these repeated attacks on those I have nominated."
Mang claimed the allegations were politically motivated ahead of an election this fall.
The ministry has its work cut out for it regarding education in Romania.
A record 150,000 high school students failed their graduation exams last year. Most of them will try again this year as tens of thousands of other students sit the exam for the first time. Political parties already are preparing to campaign for their votes in local elections in June and a national one in November.
Ponta, who only became prime minister on May 7, was forced to drop Corina Dumitrescu as his first chosen education minister after it emerged that she and her husband, lawmaker Cristian Dumitrescu, had been sued in 2007 by writer Octavian Manolache for allegedly plagiarizing his work in a book they wrote about Romania's entry into the European Union.
Corina Dumitrescu also had misspelled words on her resume.