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Hungarian President Resigns Amidst Pardon Scandal: Controversial Decision to Pardon Convicted Child Abuse Cover-up Culprit Sparks Outcry

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Hungarian President, Katalin Novak on Saturday, February 10, announced her resignation following a controversy that trailed her decision to pardon a man convicted of covering up a child sexual abuse case in a children’s home.

The pardon decision was made last year but only caught the public’s attention over the past days after a report by the local news site 444.hu, which was met with outrage, leading Hungary’s opposition to call for Katalin Novak to step down.

Protests calling for her to step down had been growing in Hungary. Ms Novak apologised and said she made “a mistake” in granting the pardon. “I made a mistake,” Novak said in a televised address aired on Saturday, when she announced her resignation and issued an apology to any victims who felt she had not stood with them.

Novak who became president in 2022, also branded herself as a family-focused Christian conservative politician.

Judit Varga, the former minister of justice who approved the pardon, has also resigned from her new role leading the European elections campaign for Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s ruling Fidesz party.

Novak is a popular figure in Fidesz and a rare female politician in a male-dominated country. She is a key ally of Mr Orban and previously worked as his family minister. In 2022, she became the first woman to hold the largely ceremonial role of Hungarian president.

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