Hungary’s President resigned Saturday (Feb. 10) over a child abuse case pardon. Katalin Novak is a member of the ruling conservative party Fidesz.
Novak’s decision came after more than a week of public outrage after it was revealed that she issued a presidential pardon in April 2023 to a man convicted of hiding a string of child sexual abuses in a state-run children’s home.
“I issued a pardon that caused bewilderment and unrest for many people,” Novák said on Saturday. “I made a mistake.”
Novak – the first female president in Hungary’s history – has unleashed a political scandal unprecedented for the country’s long-serving nationalist government.
Her resignation is a rare episode of turmoil for the right-wing party, which under the leadership of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been accused of dismantling democratic institutions and rigging the media in its favour.
Novak, a key ally of Orbán, has been an outspoken advocate of traditional family values and the protection of children.
She held the mostly ceremonial role of president since 2022.
The scandal has also forced the justice minister to step down.