Frontrunner to succeed Merkel admits plagiarism ‘mistakes’ in book

Armin Laschet, the conservative frontrunner to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel after German elections on September 26th, apologised on Friday after becoming the second major candidate to be accused of plagiarism.

Frontrunner to succeed Merkel admits plagiarism 'mistakes' in book
The conservative chancellor candidate Armin Laschet. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marcel Kusch

“There are obviously mistakes for which I bear responsibility,” Laschet said in a statement on Twitter, as he admitted to not properly citing sources in his 2009 book.

“I would like to apologise,” said the head of Merkel’s CDU party, adding that he would commission a review of the book to establish whether any other
errors had been made.

Author and development expert Karsten Weitzenegger tweeted on Thursday that a German “plagiarism hunter” had informed him that Laschet had lifted entire
sentences from his own work on integration, published a year before.

Annalena Baerbock, the Green party’s chancellor candidate, was also accused of plagiarising passages of a book in June.

READ ALSO: German Greens candidate defends herself against plagiarism claim

The scandal was one of a series of blunders that left the Greens trailing badly in the polls, having briefly overtaken the conservatives in April.

Baerbock was also criticised for her failure to declare to parliament a bonus she had received from the party, as well as inaccuracies on her CV that have since been corrected.

But more recently, Laschet has been on the back foot after he was caught on camera laughing in the background during a tribute to the victims of Germany’s recent deadly floods.

In a survey for the RTL and NTV broadcasters published Friday, the conservative CDU/CSU alliance was down to 28 percent, while the Greens rose one point to 21 percent.

Member comments

    1. Totally agree. To me, he is all mouth & trousers, as we used to say. His handling of the Corona crisis in the NRW has been terrible – he’d make speaches about what he was doing & achieving, but the truth was frquently the exact opposite. In all honestly, I am worried for Germany if he gets to be Chancellor.

  1. There is no statesmanship in Armin Laschet, none whatsoever. He is just a parochial politician made good by the abscence of decent competition within his burocratic party and the irresponsible tendency in the German media to think him a “nice guy” because he is not confrontational. I see in him, only a mediocre politician on the make. A Francois Hollande for Germany.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


German far-right politician charged over Nazi slogan

German prosecutors charged a prominent member of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party Monday with using a banned Nazi slogan in an election campaign.

German far-right politician charged over Nazi slogan

Björn Höcke, the party’s regional leader in Thuringia, allegedly used the motto of the Nazi’s Stormtroopers SA paramilitary wing, “Everything for Germany”, the Halle prosecutor’s office said.

Höcke, a former history teacher, uttered the phrase in full knowledge of its “origin and meaning” in front of 250 people at a campaign event in 2021, according to prosecutors.

The AfD won 10 percent of the vote in the general election that year. Höcke is charged with “the public use of a symbol of a former National Socialist organisation”.

READ ALSO: Far-right AfD at new high as climate issues split Germany

The far-right politician “questioned the criminal relevance of his remark” through his lawyer, prosecutors said.

The AfD is currently level in the polls with Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats as discontent with the government grows.

It tops polls in a number of Germany’s eastern states, including Thuringia, though it trails the conservative opposition CDU-CSU alliance nationally.

In 2015 Höcke founded the “Flügel”, a radical faction within the AfD,which was placed under formal surveillance by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency.

READ ALSO: Germany surveils far-right Flügel as fight against extremism stepped up

The organisation subsequently disbanded but the far-right firebrand, whose statements on Germany’s Nazi past have sparked outrage, remains influential within the party.

Höcke has called Berlin’s Holocaust monument a “memorial of shame” and urged a “180-degree shift” in the country’s culture of remembrance.

“This charge against Björn Höcke is a correct and, in my view, long-overdue step,” said Holocaust survivor and Munich Jewish community leader Charlotte Knobloch on Twitter.