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Hungary’s President Resigns Amid Outcry Over Sex Abuse Case Pardon

Hungary’s President Resigns Amid Outcry Over Sex Abuse Case Pardon


The president of Hungary, a loyal and largely powerless ally of the nation’s authoritarian prime minister, Viktor Orban, resigned on Saturday amid a public outcry over her pardoning of a person implicated in a intercourse abuse scandal at a youngsters’s house.

President Katalin Novak, an outspoken champion of conventional values and Hungary’s former minister of household affairs, introduced her resignation on tv, the newest in a collection of outstanding figures in Mr. Orban’s conservative governing Fidesz party felled by intercourse scandals.

She stop as president, a largely ceremonial workplace she has held since 2022, in response to widespread outrage, together with inside Fidesz, over latest revelations {that a} man she pardoned final 12 months had been convicted of overlaying up sexual abuse at a state-run youngsters’s house.

The man was amongst greater than 20 individuals pardoned by Ms. Novak final April earlier than a go to to Hungary by Pope Francis.

“I issued a pardon that brought on bewilderment and unrest amongst many individuals,” Ms. Novak mentioned on Saturday, insisting that she had believed “that the convict didn’t abuse the vulnerability of kids.” That, she mentioned, was “a mistake.”

Her departure is unlikely to dent Mr. Orban’s tight grip on energy, nevertheless it delivers a blow to Fidesz’s picture — rigorously nurtured by state and personal media shops managed by the governing party — as a stalwart defender of Christian values and an enemy of pedophilia, which the federal government has typically linked to efforts by the European Union to guard L.G.B.T.Q. rights.

Pledges to defend youngsters in opposition to predators have turn into an more and more necessary a part of home political messaging by Mr. Orban, who has received 4 normal elections in a row and who frequently denounces his critics at house and overseas as “woke globalists” bent on undermining the standard household.

Quite a few Fidesz politicians, together with a robust mayor captured on video participating in an orgy with prostitutes on a yacht, have been embroiled in intercourse scandals lately. The most outstanding of those was Jozsef Szajer, a Fidesz member of the European Parliament who helped rewrite Hungary’s Constitution to incorporate a ban on same-sex marriage. He resigned in 2020 after being arrested by Belgian cops for violating Covid restrictions by attending an all-male orgy in Brussels after which making an attempt to flee down a drainpipe.

On the defensive over Ms. Novak’s pardon of an confederate in a baby intercourse abuse case, Fidesz on Thursday proposed amending Hungary’s Constitution to stop future pardons from being granted to anybody convicted in reference to crimes in opposition to youngsters.

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