The First Minister of Madrid, Cristina Cifuentes, holds a Master’s Degree in Regional Law from the King Juan Carlos University whose marks were increased artificially to award her the title without her having passed two key subjects, El Diario reported on Wednesday.
The news puts the regional government deal between the Popular Party and Ciudadanos in Madrid at risk because that document, signed in 2015, contains a clause requiring political leaders who have falsified their academic records or CVs to step down.
Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias wondered on Twitter if Albert Rivera’s party would now continue to support Mrs. Cifuentes.
Her academic record in two subjects—regional finance and the end-of-course project or thesis—was altered by a worker in an unrelated department off-campus at the public university, from “not handed in” to approximately a “B” grade (7.5/10 or 75%).
Those changes were made two years after the course began in the 2011-2012 academic year, in 2014, and the academic record does not show she re-registered to complete her studies before obtaining the new grades.
Mrs. Cifuentes became the First Minister of Madrid in June 2015.
El Diario reported that while there were only two subjects, the credits for those two specifically amounted to 27 out of a total of 60, or nearly half of the whole degree.
Sources in the First Minister’s office told the newspaper that she had “paid to re-register, there must be some mistake”.
The public worker who made the changes told El Diario that she never made such modifications unless told to do so in writing by a teacher, but that she could not remember the name of the teacher who instructed her to change Mrs. Cifuentes’ record.
Spain’s Criminal Code contains the crime of public workers falsifying public documents, and it can carry a sentence of up to six years in prison.
Libertad Digital’s PP correspondent, Pablo Montesinos, reported Mrs. Cifuentes’ team had asked the university for a copy of her academic file, that “explanations would be given” and that national PP headquarters was “worried” by the matter.