German education minister, Merkel ally, quits over plagiarism

BERLIN, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Germany's education minister resigned on Saturday after being stripped of her doctorate over plagiarism charges, an embarrassment for her close confidante Chancellor Angela Merkel who is campaigning to win a third term in office this year.

The move came four days after the University of Duesseldorf ruled Annette Schavan had "systematically and intentionally" copied parts of her thesis and withdrew her Ph.D more than 30 years after it was granted.

"I will not accept the decision (by the university) and will take legal action against it," Schavan told reporters. "When a, (education) minister sues a university, then that comes with strains, for my office, for the ministry, the government and for the Christian Democrats. I want to avoid just that."

(Reporting by Annika Breidthardt; Editing by Andrew Heavens)