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News > Hungary

Hungary: President Resigns Following Child Abuse Pardon Scandal

  • Former Hungarian President Katalin Novak.

    Former Hungarian President Katalin Novak. | Photo: X/ @DK71834510

Published 12 February 2024 (11 hours 6 minutes ago)
Opinion

"There shall be no mercy for paedophiles," Prime Minister Viktor Orban said last week.

On Saturday, Hungarian President Katalin Novak resigned from office, following a child abuse pardon scandal.

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"I am addressing you as President for the last time, I resign from the position of President of the Republic. I apologize to those I have offended and to all the victims who might have felt I did not stand by them. I have been, am, and will be in support of protecting children and families," she said on national television channel M1.

Novak pardoned Endre K., former deputy director of a children's home, in April 2023. The pardon led to protests on Friday in Budapest demanding her resignation.

Shortly following Novak's resignation, Hungary's former Justice Minister Judit Varga also resigned from public office.

The text reads, "Scandal in Hungary. Hungarian President Katalin Novak announces her resignation after it came to light that she granted a pardon to the deputy director of an orphanage who tried to hide cases of pedophilia, of up to ten minors, committed by the director of the center."

"I take political responsibility for countersigning the President's decision. I am withdrawing from public life, resigning my parliamentary mandate, and stepping down as the head of the list for the European Parliament," said Varga, who was minister of justice when Novak signed the controversial pardon.

"Katalin Novak and Judit Varga have made a responsible decision, which we respect," said Mate Kocsis, head of the parliamentary group of the ruling Fidesz party.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Viktor Orban submitted a constitutional amendment on behalf of the government to prevent a pardon from being granted to perpetrators of crimes committed against minors. "There shall be no mercy for paedophiles," Orban said.

Elected to office by the Hungarian parliament in 2022, Novak has been the country's first female president and also the youngest ever to hold the mostly ceremonial position.

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