Hungarian president resigns over granting pardon to child abuser

BUDAPEST: Hungarian President Katalin Novak, a close ally of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, announced her resignation Saturday following outrage over a pardon granted to a man implicated in a child sexual abuse case.Soon afterwards another Orban supporter, former justice minister Judit Varga, announced she was withdrawing from public life over the affair.The announcements followed growing pressure from opposition politicians and protests outside the presidential palace Friday evening.”I am resigning my post,” said 46-year-old Novak, acknowledging that she had made a mistake.”I apologise to those who I hurt and all the victims who may have had the impression that I did not support them,” the former minister for family policy added.”I am, I was and I will remain in favour of protecting children and families.”Novak became the first woman to hold the essentially ceremonial role of president in March 2022.The controversy was sparked by the pardon granted to a former deputy director of a children’s home. He had helped to cover up his boss’s sexual abuse of the children in their charge.The decision was made last April during a visit by Pope Francis to Budapest.Since the independent news site 444 revealed the decision last week, the country’s opposition has been calling for Novak’s resignation.On Friday evening demonstrators gathered outside the presidential palace and three presidential advisers quit their posts.Orban must ‘take responsibility’ -Novak, who had been in Qatar to attend Hungary’s match against Kazakhstan at the World Water Polo Championships on Friday, swiftly returned to Budapest.As soon as her plane had landed she emerged and announced her resignation.”The pardon granted and the lack of explanation may have given rise to doubts about zero tolerance of paedophilia,” she said.”But there can be no doubt on this subject”, she added, before offering her apologies.Minutes after her announcement, another ally of Orban, Judit Varga, also announced her “withdrawal from public life”.

Source link