Sinisa Mali will remain a government minister, said Serbian PM, Ana Brnabic in a statement for N1 TV.
She went on to say that the decision of the Professional Ethics Committee of the University of Belgrade (which confirmed that Mali plagiarized his doctoral thesis) was only of a political nature.
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Brnabic explained her position by recalling that the decision of the Council of the Faculty of Sciences (FON) has been overturned four times and the opinion of the commission of experts twice.
“Mali has filed a 3,000-page appeal on a previous FON decision. The Ethics Committee could not ask for more time to decide because of the scope of the appeal and the deadline of November 21. It made its final decision under political pressure,” said Brnabic.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that the decision regarding Minister Mali’s doctorate was made under “political and physical” pressure, but also that the Minister would have to pay a political price for that decision. However, Vucic added, the decision regarding Mali’s doctorate would not affect his position in the government.
The Professional Ethics Committee overturned the FON Board’s decision and unanimously voted that Sinisa Mali engaged in “non-academic behaviour during the preparation of his doctoral thesis”. The statement also says that Mali violated Article 22 of the Code of Professional Ethics, which defines plagiarism, during writing his doctoral thesis.
The commission proposed that the University Senate cancels the doctorate.
“The decision of the Professional Ethics Committee is final and represents the position of the University,” Ivanka Popovic, the Rector of the University of Belgrade, told RTS.
While opposition politicians are demanding nothing less than the resignation of Sinisa Mali, the opposition is also protesting against the President of the State, Aleksandar Vucic keeping Mali in the government. Vucic, however, argues that only a minister’s results are important and that the University’s decision will not affect the work that Mali does as a government minister.
This post is also available in: Italiano