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Plagiarism Charges Prompt German Minister's Resignation

For a second time in two years, accusations of plagiarism have resulted in the resignation of a key member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government.

Chancellor Merkel announced Saturday that she had accepted the resignation of Education Minister Annette Schavan, a close ally and confidante.

The departure comes four days after a panel at Heinrich Heine University voted to strip Schavan of her doctorate, saying that she plagiarized parts of her thesis in 1980.

Schavan denies the allegations and has vowed to fight the decision. However, she said she is stepping down to keep her case from causing "strains" in the education ministry.

Two years ago, Ms. Merkel's defense minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, quit over allegations of plagiarism.

The chancellor said she had accepted Schavan's resignation with a " very heavy heart." She said a regional minister, Johanna Wanka, had been appointed as Schavan's successor.

The ministry shake-up comes as Ms. Merkel prepares for parliamentary elections in September.

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