President Katalin Novák has resigned from her post amidst a scandal involving the pardon of a man convicted of complicity in covering up a child abuse case. This decision marks a dramatic fall for Novák, who has been a prominent figure in Hungarian politics, serving since May 2022.
In a heartfelt address broadcast on national television, Novák expressed regret over her actions. “I made a mistake… Today is the last day I address you as President,” she stated, signaling the end of her tenure. The controversy centers on her decision to pardon an individual linked to a child exploitation case in a foster home, a move that has provoked widespread outrage and disappointment.
“The decision was not difficult for personal reasons. It was difficult because I took an oath,” Novák explained, indicating the gravity with which she viewed her responsibilities and the remorse she felt for her actions. She extended an apology to those who felt let down by her decision, acknowledging the breach of trust her decision represented.
In a related development, Judit Varga, the Minister of Justice, who countersigned the pardon, has also announced her withdrawal from political life. Varga’s resignation underscores the depth of the crisis and the potential for broader implications within the Hungarian government.
Before her presidency, Novák held several key positions within the government of Viktor Orbán, including Secretary of State for Family and Youth Affairs and Minister without Portfolio for Family Affairs. Her rapid ascent and subsequent fall from grace highlight the volatile nature of political life and the severe consequences of misjudgments in office.
In Hungary, the Parliament, where the Fidesz-KDNP coalition holds a majority, elects the head of state. This system places significant power in the hands of the parliamentary majority, setting the stage for the selection of Novák’s successor amidst a tumultuous political landscape.