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HomeWorld NewsEuropean NewsHungarian President Resigns Over Controversial Pardon Decision in Child Abuse Case

Hungarian President Resigns Over Controversial Pardon Decision in Child Abuse Case

Hungarian President Katalin Novak, announced her resignation during a live television broadcast, following intense backlash over her decision to grant clemency to a man involved in a child sexual abuse case cover-up.

President Novak faced mounting criticism after it was revealed that she pardoned a man convicted of coercing children into retracting allegations of sexual abuse against a director of a state-operated children’s home.

Protests demanding her resignation had been gaining momentum across Hungary.

In a public apology, the 46-year-old president admitted to making a grave error in exercising her pardon authority.

Judit Varga, the former justice minister who sanctioned the pardon, also stepped down from her new role leading the European elections campaign for Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s ruling Fidesz party.

The controversy erupted when Hungarian media exposed the names of 25 individuals pardoned by President Novak during a visit by Pope Francis to Hungary last April.

Among those pardoned was the deputy director of a children’s home near Budapest, convicted of compelling children to retract abuse accusations against the home’s director, himself serving an eight-year sentence for child abuse.

While opposition parties and protesters had been demanding Novak’s resignation, her sudden decision to step down took many by surprise.

Novak, a prominent figure in Fidesz and a rare female leader in Hungary’s male-dominated political landscape, has been a key ally of Prime Minister Orban, previously serving as his family minister.

Her resignation marks a significant development in Hungarian politics, igniting a major scandal for Orban’s nationalist government, known for its emphasis on traditional family values.

Addressing the nation on live television, Novak expressed regret for the lack of transparency surrounding the pardon, acknowledging that it had undermined public trust and the government’s stance on combatting paedophilia.

“I made a mistake, as the pardon and the lack of reasoning were conducive to triggering doubts about the zero tolerance that applies to paedophilia,” Ms Novak said.

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