With accusations of plagiarism and threats of lawsuits, the row over the authenticity of the qualifications of Spanish politicians escalated yesterday, with prime minister Pedro Sánchez drawn into the controversy after the leader of the Ciutadans party expressed doubts about his doctorate.
It has been a testing week for Sánchez and the Socialists, as the opposition has attempted to catch him in a pincer movement over alleged irregularities in his doctoral thesis, rumours that have pursued him since he became PSOE party leader in 2014. At that time there was talk he had received outside help and that his work was not good enough to justify the cum laude distinction it was given. Yet, this week the leader of Ciutadans, Albert Rivera, cast doubts on the thesis, with rumours of alleged plagiarism abounding. In response, Sánchez pledged to “take legal action in defence of my honour and dignity” against the media outlets that accused him of cheating.
At the same time, the Camilo José Cela university that awarded him his doctorate made a statement insisting it had conducted an internal and external evaluation of the thesis.
Yet, the cat was out of the bag, and the supposed examples of plagiarism in the press yesterday has served as ammunition for the opposition. Rivera called for Sánchez’s urgent appearance in parliament, with PP leader Pablo Casado, who is also under investigation over alleged irregularities in his masters, adding his voice to the call for an explanation.
Yet with Casado’s case up in the air, Sánchez’s promise to make his thesis public is an attempt to put out the flames of a fire that started with the resignation of minister, Carmen Montón, on Monday due to allegations of irregularities in her masters.