(DF) PM Designate’s Study at Austrian University Called into Question

August 9 (BTA) – On August 5, Klagenfurt’s “Kleine Zeitung” ran an article by Austrian journalist Uwe Sommersguter about the ambiguities in the biography of TISP’s prime minister designate Plamen Nikolov and whether he really did his doctorate in the East Austrian city. Sommersguter, who heads the Austrian newspaper’s economy section, told BTA that Nikolov was not a student at the University of Klagenfurt, judging by the official information received from Dr Annegret Landes, head of the University’s public relations. In a written statement, Landes said that the name Plamen Nikolov does not appeal in the University’s students or alumni database. His name cannot be found in the Austrian Library Association, where all written works by students in Austria are stored. The information that Plamen Nikolov has graduated from the University of Klagenfurt was part of his profile when he was presented as TISP’s prime minister designate. Approached for comment by BTA, Nikolov said that he did not graduate from the Alpen-Adria University of Klagenfurt but defended a postgraduate research project there. According to Nikolov, the right Austrian institution to be asked about his study is not Klagenfurt University but the Ministry of Ministry of Education, Science and Culture because the research project concerned is entitled “Phenomenology and phases of experience in the perception of subjective time”. It was precisely through the implementation of that project that he was able to defend his dissertation before the Specialized Scientific Council for Philosophy with Bulgaria’s Higher Attestation Commission (HAC), Nikolov explained, referring to the government agency that awarded academic degrees and titles until 2010. He specified that at that time the HAC awarded the doctoral degrees, whereas the postgraduate studies only were assigned to a university or an academy. “In this sense, I am a postgraduate of Sofia University but a doctor of HAC,” Nikolov said. Nikolov sent a photograph of the project which helped him to defend his doctoral thesis in Bulgaria. The prime minister designate said that it was the Austrian Ministry that awarded him the Ernst Mach Scholarship, and Klagenfurt University was merely the place where he implemented his research project. While in Klagenfurt, Nikolov used the library and consulted three professors, of whom two are still alive: Manfred Moser and Michael Polemis. Tsvetana Delibaltova contributed to this story from Vienna. RY, RI/MY, LG //