Hungarian President Resigns Amid Pardon Scandal

Hungary’s conservative president, Katalin Novák, has resigned following a public outcry over a controversial pardon she granted to a man convicted as an accomplice in a child sexual abuse case. The decision has sparked an unprecedented political scandal for the long-serving nationalist government led by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party.

Novák, who held the presidency since 2022, announced her resignation in a televised message on Saturday. The move comes after more than a week of public outrage following the revelation that she issued a presidential pardon in April 2023 to a man involved in hiding a series of child sexual abuses in a state-run children’s home.

In her statement, Novák acknowledged her mistake and expressed regret for causing bewilderment and unrest among the public. As a key ally of Orbán and a former vice president of Fidesz, Novák had been known for advocating traditional family values and child protection. She was the first female president in Hungary’s history and the youngest person to hold the office.

The man who received the pardon was originally sentenced in 2018 to over three years in prison for pressuring victims to retract their claims of sexual abuse by the institution’s director. The director himself was sentenced to eight years for abusing at least 10 children between 2004 and 2016.

Judit Varga, another prominent Fidesz figure who served as the minister of justice at the time, endorsed the pardon and is also implicated in the scandal. Varga, who was expected to lead Fidesz’s list of European Parliament candidates in the upcoming elections, announced her retirement from public life and resignation from parliament in a Facebook post on Saturday.

While Novák’s resignation was met with some satisfaction among the approximately 200 people who gathered at the presidential headquarters in Budapest, many believe it is not enough to bring about fundamental change in Orbán’s governance system. Attendees expressed the view that the responsibility extends beyond Novák and called for a deeper examination of the government’s actions.

Fidesz, under Orbán’s leadership, has enjoyed strong support in Hungary and has secured four consecutive election victories. However, the party has faced criticism within the European Union for alleged democratic institution dismantling, electoral system manipulation, and control over the media. Orbán’s government has also been accused of being pro-Kremlin and obstructing key decisions within the EU.

Máté Kocsis, the head of Fidesz’s parliamentary delegation, issued a statement expressing gratitude for Novák and Varga’s “responsible decision” to resign.


Author: CrimeDoor

1 Response

  1. It is indeed disheartening to see cases where those in positions of power make questionable decisions that undermine public trust. In order to prevent such incidents in the future, it is crucial to establish a more transparent and accountable system for granting pardons.

    One potential solution could be the formation of an independent committee consisting of legal experts, psychologists, and child protection advocates. This committee would thoroughly review each pardon request related to child abuse cases, ensuring that all aspects of the case are considered, including the severity of

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