Slovak parliamentary speaker refuses to step down despite sham degree

Parliamentary Speaker Andrej Danko copied almost all of the pages in his academic work from other sources, but he refuses to step down. He continues to use his title "Doctor of law" despite the fact that he acquired it through plagiarism.

Ria Gehrerová
Ria Gehrerová Denník N, Slovakia
Source: Denník N
Slovak parliamentary speaker refuses to step down despite sham degree - NewsMavens
Andrej Danko. Wikicommons

Why this story matters:

There are many politicians in Europe who stepped down when it was revealed that their academic works were copy-pasted from other authors. Faced with these charges, officials have stepped down in Germany, Czechia, and Hungary... but not in Slovakia.

When it comes to political culture, Slovakia still does not belong to the Western world. Parliamentary Speaker Andrej Danko does not even answer journalists' questions about his academic work and he has avoided confrontations with journalists for weeks.

His only defense is that his work is acceptable because, back in 2000 when he wrote it, it was allowed to copy academic texts and compile them into a "new" one. However,  experts and academics have publicly disavowed this, and are calling for his resignation.

Details from the story:

  • Andrej Danko has been the Slovak Parliamentary Speaker since 2016.
  • He is a leader of the Slovak political party SNS (Slovak National Party).
  • In September, a journalist published an article about Danko's missing university thesis. After that, Danko decided to restrict access to it. When he finally showed his work to journalists, they realized his thesis was completely plagiarized.
  • Slovakia does not have a law which will enable the universities or the state to revoke academic title when it has been already given to someone.
  • This is not Andrej Danko's first scandal connected to his titles. He is also known as "Captain Danko" because he received the title of "captain" from the Slovak minister of defense.
  • Andrej Danko is the leader of the country's political party SNS (Slovak National Party).

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