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German Interior Minister to Replace Outgoing Defense Minister

German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg speaks during a news conference where he announced his resignation in Berlin, Germany, over allegations he plagiarized his doctoral thesis, March 1, 2011

German government sources say Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere will replace newly-resigned Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg.

The news Wednesday comes just one day after Guttenberg stepped down amid allegations he plagiarized parts of his doctoral thesis.

Officials with the Christian Social Union party say leading CSU lawmaker Hans-Peter Friedrich will be the new interior minister. The party is the Bavarian-based sister to Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union.

The scandal involving Guttenberg's 475-page doctoral thesis erupted after a German newspaper reported that chunks of the work were copied from other scholars without properly crediting them. The allegations earned the minister the nickname of "Baron Cut-and-Paste."

The University of Bayreuth withdrew Guttenberg's doctoral degree last week, and opposition lawmakers pushed for him to step down.

The popular minister has acknowledged making errors in his writing, but insisted he did not deliberately cheat.

Guttenberg called his resignation "the most painful step" of his life, but said the controversy had made it impossible to carry out his duties.

Merkel had supported Guttenberg.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.