Spain’s health minister quits over degree scandal

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Irregularities had been found in masters awarded to Carmen Montn by Madrid university

Spains health minister, Carmen Montn, has resigned after becoming the latest senior politician to find her educational qualifications under scrutiny.

Montn stepped down on Tuesday night following a series of reports detailing irregularities in her masters degree in interdisciplinary gender studies, which was awarded by King Juan Carlos University in Madrid seven years ago.

She insisted she had been transparent and honest, but an investigation by the online newspaper El Diario found discrepancies over her attendance and the marks awarded. Moreover, it emerged on Tuesday that Montn had plagiarised passages from Wikipedia and other websites in her final degree work.

The MP claimed she had done nothing wrong and, in an apparent reference to the opposition Peoples party (PP) politicians who have faced questions over their degrees, said: Were not all the same.

She paid tribute to Pedro Snchez, the Socialist prime minister who appointed her after being sworn in three months ago, as she left office.

Spanish men and women have a fantastic prime minister and Ive informed him of my resignation so that this situation doesnt get in the way, Montn said.

Earlier that day, Snchez had given the minister his backing. Shes doing a great job and will carry on doing so, he said.

The prime minister later tweeted his thanks: In your 100 days at the helm of the health ministry, you have restored universal healthcare in our country and youve worked tirelessly to return and increase rights. Thanks, Carmen Montn, for your commitment to equality and social justice. Your brave decision does you credit.

Pedro Snchez (@sanchezcastejon)

En 100 das al frente de @sanidadgob has recuperado la sanidad universal en nuestro pas, has trabajado sin descanso para devolver y ampliar derechos.
Gracias, @carmenmonton, por tu compromiso con la igualdad y la justicia social. Tu decisin, valiente, te honra.

September 11, 2018

Montn is the second minister Snchez has lost since he used a vote of no confidence to unseat his PP predecessor, Mariano Rajoy, amid public anger over the partys corruption and cronyism.

In June, the culture minister, Mxim Huerta, resigned following media reports that he had avoided paying taxes while working as a TV journalist 10 years ago.

Pablo Casado, the new PP leader, has also faced questions over his academic record. Earlier this year, it emerged the postgraduate degree he claims to hold from Harvard had in fact been earned by attending a four-day course in Madrid. He has also admitted he was awarded a masters degree in public regional law by King Juan Carlos University despite not being required to attend classes or take exams.

Spains supreme court is looking into Casados degree and will decide whether the investigations should continue. However, PP sources maintain that Casados case is very different from that of Montn, arguing their leader has not been accused of plagiarism or falsification.

In April, Cristina Cifuentes, the PP head of Madrids regional government, resigned after video footage emerged of her apparently being caught stealing two tubs of face cream seven years ago. Cifuentes had also been under pressure to quit over allegations of irregularities in her masters degree from King Juan Carlos University.

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