President Katalin Novak of Hungary steps down over scandal involving child abuse pardons

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The leader of Hungary quit on TV because he pardoned a man who lied about a child abuse case.

Last week, it came out that President Novak pardoned a man who was in prison for making children take back their claims of sexual abuse against a director of a government-run children’s home.

Protests in Hungary were getting bigger and asking for her to leave her position.

Ms Novak said sorry and admitted she made a “mistake” in giving the pardon.

Judit Varga, who used to be in charge of making the pardon official, has quit her new job leading the European elections campaign for Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s party, Fidesz.

The resignations happened because 25 people who were pardoned by Ms. Novak last year had their names revealed by Hungarian media last week. This caused a lot of disagreement.

The list of people in prison included the deputy boss of a kids’ home near Budapest. He was sent to jail for three years because he made kids take back their reports of being hurt by the boss of the home.

The director was sent to jail for eight years because he hurt children at the government facility.

The people and political parties in Hungary wanted Ms Novak to quit, and she surprised everyone by deciding to resign.

Ms Novak is well-liked in Fidesz and one of the few female politicians in a country where men usually have more power. She is a very important friend of Hungarian Mr Orban and used to work as his family minister before.

In 2022, she was the first woman to become the Hungarian president, but the role is mostly for ceremonies.

The situation has caused a big political problem for Hungary’s government that has been in power for a long time.

In particular, it made Fidesz feel really bad because they focus on traditional family values in their social policy.

Ms Novak said on TV that she pardoned the man because she believes he did not take advantage of the vulnerable children he was watching.

She said sorry to the people who may have felt like she didn’t support them.

Ms Novak said she made a mistake and that the forgiveness and lack of reasoning made people doubt the zero tolerance for paedophilia.

Along with Ms. Novak, another important woman in Fidesz has also quit because of the same issue.

Judit Varga, who was the minister of justice, also signed the decision to pardon.

The two most important women in politics have quit, which is a big problem for Mr Orban and his party. Ms Varga was supposed to lead the Fidesz list in the European elections in June.

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