Spanish Health Minister Carmen Monton announced her resignation on Tuesday, following revelations in the press about the manipulation of her grades to obtain a master’s degree.
“I communicated to the president of the government my resignation,” she told the media in Madrid. This is the second headline-grabbing resignation to hit the socialist government. In June, the Minister of Culture and Sports, Maxim Huerta, had to leave following a controversy over undeclared taxes 2006 and 2008.
Ms Monton’s case relates to the manipulation of her grades as part of a master’s degree in gender studies at the University of King Juan Carlos. The online investigative media eldiario.es revealed that in June 2011, one of Ms Monton’s university projects that was originally marked as “not presented” was subsequently changed to “approved”. She has also been accused of plagiarism in her final Master’s thesis.
King Juan Carlos University acknowledged in a statement that there had manipulation of her results and said that it was examining Ms Monton’s file in order to “establish the responsibilities”. The health minister defended herself by claiming that she had been “transparent and honest”, and that she had “not committed any irregularities.”
The Madrid university has been at the center of a huge controversy for months, in what has been baptized in Spain as “mastergate”. In April, the conservative president of the Madrid region, Cristina Cifuentes, had to resign after several media accused her of having obtained a master’s degree in public law fraudulently. Ms Cifuentes has denied the allegations, however, the university acknowledged that there were serious irregularities with her degree. Under pressure, she had finally removed it from her resume, before resigning due to a separate scandal in which she was accused of stealing cosmetics from a supermarket in 2011.
The new president of the Popular Party Pablo Casado is also facing charges of irregularities with his academic record. The opposition leader admitted having obtained a master’s degree in regional law from the same university, without having passed an exam or having attended the courses.