Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has been accused of plagiarizing his law school thesis by a news website which says it detected the work of a dozen others in his writing.
Investigative website Aristegui Noticias concluded that 197 of the 682 paragraphs in Pena Nieto’s thesis from 25 years ago were plagiarized, based on analysis and speaking with professors.
Presidential spokesman Eduardo Sanchez said the issue was a matter of “style errors such as quotations without quotation marks or a lack of reference to authors (cited) in the bibliography.”
Pena Nieto studied at Mexico’s Panamerican University, which released a statement Monday afternoon that said it had not been consulted by the journalists and specified that it was “in charge of studying the question” of possible plagiarism.
The controversy arises as Pena Nieto’s popularity is at an all-time low, with only 23 percent of Mexicans holding a positive opinion of the leader, according to a recent survey published by the newspaper Reforma.
The website behind the investigation is headed by well-known Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui who in 2014 revealed Pena Nieto’s wife, former soap opera star Angelica Rivera, had bought a $7 million Mexico City mansion from a government contractor.
Although Rivera ultimately gave up the house, the president’s image was seriously tarnished, as he himself acknowledged in July when he said he had made a “mistake” and asked for Mexico’s forgiveness.