Hungarian President Katalin Novak resigned on Saturday, Feb. 10, after coming under heavy pressure over a pardon she granted a man who was convicted as an accomplice in helping cover up sexual abuse in a children’s home.
Novak’s resignation comes a week after her presidential pardon in April 2023 to the man convicted of hiding a string of child sexual abuses in a state-run children’s home was reported by a local news site 444.hu.
As the AP reports, the man in question was sentenced to more than three years in prison in 2018 for coercing victims into withdrawing their allegations of sexual abuse against the director of the institution. The director of the institution was sentenced to eight years for abusing at least 10 children between 2004 and 2016.
After this revelation, several Hungarians protested and called for the resignation of the conservative president who happens to be the first female president in Hungary’s history.
In a televised message on Saturday, Katalin Novak, 46, who assumed office in 2022 expressed remorse over her decision and announced that she would step aside from the presidency.
“I issued a pardon that caused bewilderment and unrest for many people. I made a mistake,” she said.
Novák, a close nationalist Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, served as Hungary’s minister for families until her appointment to the presidency in 2022. She has also been an outspoken advocate for traditional family values and the protection of children, a reputation that this new scandal has tainted.