The University of Jyväskylä has decided to start a new preliminary investigation into plagiarism accusations against Finns Party vice chair, and former presidential candidate, Laura Huhtasaari.
“It is in the interests of society, the scientific community and researchers that all doubts about the appropriateness of the investigation are clarified” says university communications manager Taina Erkkilä.
The fresh investigation into Huhtasaari’s master’s thesis takes up to three months to complete, and will be carried out by experts from outside the university.
In April, the university announced the results of a previous preliminary investigation into plagiarism which found up to 10% of the 15-year old thesis had not followed “good scientific practice” but that it didn’t amount to anything particularly serious, according to university rector Keijo Hämäläinen.
However, in early May an investigation by a journalist at state-funded broadcaster YLE alleged that up to 30% of Huhtsasaari’s work had been copied – spelling errors and all – from another student’s 2001 thesis, which is not cited as a source for Huhtasaari’s work.
The Finns Party politician has vigorously defended herself on social media, and her supporters have called it a political witch hunt.