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Hungarian President Katalin Novak resigns amid child abuse controversy

I apologize to those who I hurt and all the victims who may have had the impression that I did not support them. I am, I was and I will remain in favor of protecting children and families."

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Hungarian President Katalin Novak resigns amid child abuse controversy

Hungarian President Katalin Novak made the decision to step down on Saturday in the midst of a scandal that arose from her pardon of a man involved in a child sexual abuse case, causing significant uproar in the central European nation.

In her resignation statement, Novak, a close confidant of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, admitted to her error, saying, “I am resigning my post. I apologize to those who I hurt and all the victims who may have had the impression that I did not support them. I am, I was and I will remain in favor of protecting children and families.”

The 46-year-old Novak, previously serving as a family policy minister, became the first woman to assume the president’s mostly ceremonial role in March 2022.

The controversy emerged following the pardon granted last April, coinciding with a visit by Pope Francis to Budapest, to a former deputy director of a children’s home who played a role in concealing his superior’s sexual abuse of children and teenagers at the facility.

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In light of the revelations by the independent news site 444 last week, the opposition in the country has been demanding Novak’s resignation.

Shortly after Novak’s announcement, another Orban loyalist, Judit Varga, disclosed her decision to “withdraw from public life” due to her authorization of the pardon as justice minister, a position she relinquished to lead a bid for the European Parliament elections.

On Facebook, Varga stated, “I renounce my mandate as an MP and the head of the list for the European Parliament.”

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