Hungary’s President Katalin Novak resigns | Government News


The announcement follows outrage over Novak's pardon of a man convicted in a child sex abuse case.

Hungarian President Katalin Novak has resigned.

Novak announced his resignation Saturday after facing growing pressure for pardoning a man convicted of complicity in helping cover up a sexual abuse case at a children's home.

“I made a mistake… Today is the last day I address you as president,” she said in a speech broadcast on state television.

At least 1,000 people demonstrated in the country's capital on Friday to demand his resignation. Hungarian opposition parties had also demanded that she leave office.

Novak decided to pardon around 20 people in April 2023, before Pope Francis' visit, including the deputy director of a children's home who helped the former director of the home hide his crimes.

Endre K. was sentenced in 2022 to three years and four months in prison and banned from any activity and occupation relating to minors for an additional five years.

But thanks to Novak's pardon, he was released and is allowed, in theory, to return to his profession.

“It's hard to find the words when your decision to show mercy deprives victims of the justice they deserve,” one of the victims, Mert Pop, wrote on Facebook, calling on Novak to provide an explanation.

On Tuesday, Novak said she would never pardon a pedophile, including in this case. She said the reason for her decision was not public and that all pardons are divisive by their nature.

Novak is an ally and former family minister of conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

On Thursday, Orban announced a constitutional amendment to bar convicted child molesters from clemency after Novak caused a scandal by pardoning a convict.

Orban did not directly address the controversy but said there should be no “pity for pedophile offenders.”

“On behalf of the government, I tabled a constitutional amendment to make it impossible to pardon the perpetrator of a crime against a minor child,” he said in a video posted on his Facebook page.

He added that his first thought would be to cut anyone “in half or into pieces” if they touched one of his five children or six grandchildren.

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