President of Hungary Resigns

( – Katalin Novak, the president of Hungary, has stepped down from her post after massive backlash over her decision to issue a pardon for a man who was convicted of helping cover up incidents of child abuse at a children’s home.

Novak, a conservative, was a close ally of Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, who is also a fellow conservative. Novak has held the office since 2022, but her last week in office was filled with protests and national outcry after reports surfaced that she issued a presidential pardon in 2023 for a convicted criminal who was proven to have aided in the cover up of a spate of child abuse incidents in a state-run children’s home.

The said criminal was sentenced in 2018 to serve more than three years in jail, after the courts found him guilty of pressuring victims of child abuse to retract their statements against the home’s director, who was also convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison for abusing at least 10 children over several years, beginning in 2004 to 2016.

The revelation sparked massive protests, with thousands of angry citizens gathering at Budapest’s Sándor Palace, the country’s presidential seat, shouting demands for Novak to resign.

In a statement, Novak said that she regretted causing “caused bewilderment and unrest for many people” and said that she “made a mistake” when she issued the pardon. She also said that there should be “zero tolerance” for pedophilia, and said that her decision was caused by a “lack of reasoning” on her part.

Novak’s resignation has been a rare instance of instability among the ranks of her and Orban’s Fidesz nationalist political party, which has held on to power in the country since 2010. In attempt to prevent a similar incident from happening again, Orban has introduced legislation that would remove a constitutional power given to the president to issue pardons for criminals.

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