The President of Hungary resigned from her position on Saturday (10), After coming under mounting pressure to pardon a man convicted of helping to cover up a sexual assault at a children's home.
Katalin Novak, a close ally of conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban, pardoned more than 20 people in April 2023. Among them was the deputy director of the children's home, who helped the former director of the institution hide his crimes.
Announcing his resignation in a speech broadcast on state television, Novak said: “I made a mistake… Today is the last day I address you as president.”
“I made the decision to grant the pardon last April, believing that the convict did not exploit the vulnerability of the children he supervised. I made a mistake, because the pardon and the lack of reasoning were enough to raise doubts about the absolute intolerance of prisoners.” “It applies to pedophilia,” he said.
This week, Hungarian opposition parties demanded Novak's resignation over the issue, and a thousand demonstrators gathered on Friday at Novak's office, demanding that she resign.
In an attempt to contain the political damage, Orban, whose Fidesz party begins campaigning for European Parliament elections in June, submitted a constitutional amendment to Parliament on Thursday evening, denying the president the right to pardon crimes against children.
On Saturday, Orbán's former justice minister, Judit Varga — who was expected to lead the Fidesz party list to the election and who also signed the pardon — said on Facebook that she would step down as a Fidesz deputy, and take responsibility for the decision.
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