Accused of plagiarising thesis, Mexican president cites methodology flaw

MEXICO CITY: Widely derided after a report that he plagiarised nearly a third of his university law thesis, President Enrique Pena Nieto conceded on Thursday that he may have made a "methodological error".

Speaking at an unscripted question-and-answer forum at his ceremonial palace in downtown Mexico City, Pena Nieto said he had not intended to steal anyone elses ideas when he compiled his 1991 thesis about Mexicos presidency.

When the story by one of Mexico's leading investigative journalists broke last month, Pena Nietos spokesman Eduardo Sanchez dismissed the reported plagiarism as "style errors".

"I can remember my studies well, remember how I researched, and what I put forward in my thesis. Nobody can tell me that I plagiarised my thesis," Pena Nieto said. "I may have misquoted or not quoted well one of the authors consulted - it may well be."

"I may have committed some methodological error," he added. "But in no way did I want to appropriate the ideas of others."

In late August, Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui reported that 28.9 percent of the president's 200-page thesis, titled ‘Mexican Presidentialism and Alvaro Obregon,’ was found to be plagiarised.

The plagiarism report was one of a series of blows that Pena Nieto has been forced to fight off, after he, his wife and his finance minister were enveloped in a series of conflict of interest scandals.