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Hungary’s president resigns over a pardon to man convicted in child sexual abuse case


BUDAPEST: Hungary’s conservative president, Katalin Novak, has resigned following public outrage over a controversial pardon she granted to a man involved in a child sexual abuse case. The decision caused a significant political scandal for the long-serving nationalist government. Novak, who has held the presidency since 2022, made the announcement in a televised message, acknowledging her mistake and the unrest it caused.
This resignation marks a rare episode of political turmoil for Hungary’s ruling party, Fidesz, which has been accused of undermining democratic institutions under the leadership of Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Novak, a prominent ally of Orban and former vice president of Fidesz, previously served as the minister for families and has been known for advocating traditional family values and child protection.
However, her tenure came to an end after pardoning a man convicted of pressuring victims to retract their claims of sexual abuse. Novak expressed regret for her decision and apologized to those affected. The resignation also implicates Judit Varga, another key Fidesz figure who endorsed the pardon.
Varga announced her retirement from public life and resignation from parliament. Following Novak’s resignation, around 200 protesters gathered outside the presidential headquarters in Budapest, expressing satisfaction but emphasizing the need for broader change in governance.
Orban’s Fidesz party remains popular in Hungary, having won four consecutive election victories, although it has faced criticism within the European Union for its close ties to Russia and its handling of important decisions. Fidesz expressed gratitude for Novak and Varga’s responsible decision and their contributions to the party’s work.

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