Hungarian President Pal Schmitt clears diary amid thesis row

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BUDAPEST. March 30. KAZINFORM Hungarian President Pal Schmitt has cancelled all appointments a day after being stripped of his doctorate for plagiarism, his office says, according to BBC.

He had been due to meet the visiting Slovak foreign minister and attend a business awards ceremony in parliament.

An inquiry by Budapest's Semmelweis University found that large parts of his thesis were plagiarised.

Pal Schmitt, whose role is largely ceremonial, denies the accusations, and has resisted calls for his resignation.

In his first reaction to the scandal, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said it was up to the president to decide what to do.

"Nobody except him can decide," Mr Orban, who is seen as a close ally of Mr Schmitt, said in his regular Friday morning radio interview.

The university launched the investigation into the award after reports surfaced in a newspaper in January. Its rector condemned a "violation of scientific norms".

A former Olympic fencing champion, Mr Schmitt wrote his thesis in 1992 as part of a degree from the University of Physical Education, later absorbed by Semmelweis University.

A committee on Tuesday said more than 200 pages of the 215-page document either showed "partial similarity" to other works or were direct translations.

But it also blamed the university for failing to notice the copying or alerting Mr Schmitt to it.

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