DE Online Desk
BUDAPEST, Hungary: Hungary’s conservative president resigned Saturday amid public outcry over a pardon she granted to a man convicted as an accomplice in a child sexual abuse case, a decision that unleashed an unprecedented political scandal for the long-serving nationalist government.
Katalin Novák, 46, announced in a televised message that she would step down from the presidency, an office she has held since 2022. Her decision came after more than a week of public outrage after it was revealed that she issued a presidential pardon in April 2023 to a man convicted of hiding a string of child sexual abuses in a state-run children’s home, reports AP.
“I issued a pardon that caused bewilderment and unrest for many people,” Novák said on Saturday. “I made a mistake.”
Novák’s resignation came as a rare episode of political turmoil for Hungary’s nationalist governing party Fidesz, which has ruled with a constitutional majority since 2010. Under the leadership of populist Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Fidesz has been accused of dismantling democratic institutions and rigging the electoral system and media in its favor.
Novák, a key Orbán ally and a former vice president of Fidesz, served as the minister for families until her appointment to the presidency. She has been outspoken in advocating for traditional family values and the protection of children.
She was the first female president in Hungary’s history, and the youngest person to ever hold the office.
But her term came to an end after she pardoned a man sentenced in 2018 to more than three years in prison. He was found guilty of pressuring victims to retract their claims of sexual abuse by the institution’s director, who was sentenced to eight years for abusing at least 10 children between 2004 and 2016.
DE Online Desk