Hungarian President Katalin Novak resigned Saturday after coming under mounting pressure for pardoning a man convicted of helping cover up sexual abuse at a children's home. A huge scandal that also scandalized the Fidesz party that had elected her.
Novak, a close ally of conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban , resigned a week after her presidential pardon was first reported by local news site 444.hu.
The revelation sparked a public uproar and calls from the opposition for him and former Justice Minister Judit Varga to resign. Varga, who was a rising star in Orban's Fidesz party, resigned as a lawmaker on Saturday.
The scandal represented a rare setback for Orban, who has been in power since 2010 and faces elections to the European Parliament just as the country is emerging from an inflationary crisis.
For years, Orban has fought to protect children from what he called LGBTQ activists who lurk in the country's schools. This was one of the many issues on which Orban clashed with the European Commission.
“I made a mistake… Today is the last day I address you as president,” Novak, whose role as president is largely ceremonial, said in announcing her resignation on state television. She cut short an official visit to Qatar and returned to Budapest unexpectedly on Saturday.
“I decided to grant pardon last April believing that the prisoner had not abused the vulnerability of the children in his care. I made a mistake because the pardon and the absence of motivation were suitable to raise doubts about the zero tolerance that applies to pedophilia,” he declared.
This week, Hungarian opposition parties called for Novak's resignation over the case, and on Friday, a thousand protesters gathered at Novak's office to demand her resignation.
The resignation comes after Orban himself personally submitted a constitutional amendment to parliament late on Thursday, depriving the president of the right to pardon crimes committed against children. A clear message with which the head of the government dumped the president of the republic, who understood the message and therefore handed in his resignation.
On Saturday, Judit Varga – who was supposed to lead Fidesz's list for the European elections and who also co-signed the pardon – said on Facebook that she would resign as a Fidesz MP, taking responsibility for her decision.
“I resign from public life, I leave my mandate as a legislator and also the top position on the European party list,” Varga declared.
The head of Fidesz's parliamentary group, Mate Kocsis, said Novak and Varga had made "responsible" decisions that the party would respect.
Fidesz leads the polls for the European elections, but there are still several months to go.
This is a machine translation of a post published on Scenari Economici at the URL https://scenarieconomici.it/la-presidente-ungherese-di-dimette-per-aver-concesso-la-grazia-a-chi-ha-coperto-uno-scandalo-pedofilo/ on Sun, 11 Feb 2024 08:30:05 +0000.