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An aspiring successor to Merkel admits ‘work of others’ in book

Berlin: The Green Party candidate to succeed German Chancellor Angela Merkel has acknowledged making a mistake in a new book after she was accused of plagiarism, saying that it would have been better to use a list of sources.

The claims that emerged last week created severe turbulence for Annalena Baerbock’s campaign, the latest in a series of troubles to hit the environmentalist party’s first bid for Germany’s top job in the September 26 election.

Greens Party chancellor candidate Annalena Baerbock, right, speaks after German Chancellor Angela Merkel,left, gave her last government declaration at the Bundestag on June 24.

Greens Party chancellor candidate Annalena Baerbock, right, speaks after German Chancellor Angela Merkel,left, gave her last government declaration at the Bundestag on June 24.Credit:Getty Images

Last week, an Austrian media scientist, Stefan Weber, said some formulations in Baerbock’s book, Now. How we will renew our country, published on June 21, were strikingly similar to extracts from other publications. A steady drip of new claims of copied passages followed.

Baerbock’s party called the claims an “attempt at character assassination”. Baerbock herself last week rejected talk of copyright infringement, though she said that many ideas from others flowed into the work.

A number of German cabinet ministers and others have resigned over recent years following allegations of plagiarism in their doctoral theses, but Baerbock’s book wasn’t subject to those academic standards and didn’t contain footnotes.

In comments to Thursday’s edition of the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Baerbock said she had relied on publicly accessible sources, “but I take the criticism seriously”.

German Green party co-leader Annalena Baerbock and German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) attend a television debate in June.

German Green party co-leader Annalena Baerbock and German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) attend a television debate in June.Credit:Getty Images

“In retrospect, it would certainly have been better if I had worked with a list of sources,” she added.

The Greens led many polls after Baerbock, 40, was nominated in April. But recent surveys show Merkel’s centre-right Union bloc, under Armin Laschet, leading by up to 11 points.

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