Hungary’s President, Katalin Novak, announced her resignation on Saturday (Feb. 10) following a controversy involving a pardon for a child abuse case. Novak, a member of the ruling conservative party Fidesz, faced public outrage after it was revealed that she granted a pardon in April 2023 to a man convicted of concealing child sexual abuses in a state-run children’s home.
In her statement on Saturday, Novak acknowledged the uproar caused by her decision, admitting, “I issued a pardon that caused bewilderment and unrest for many people. I made a mistake.” Novak, who became the first female president in Hungary’s history, triggered an unprecedented political scandal for the country’s long-serving nationalist government.
Her resignation marks a rare instance of turmoil for the right-wing party led by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, which has been accused of undermining democratic institutions and manipulating the media in its favor. Novak, known as a close ally of Orbán, has been vocal in promoting traditional family values and advocating for children’s protection.
Novak had held the mostly ceremonial role of president since 2022. The scandal also led to the resignation of the justice minister.