The President of Hungary, Katalin Novak on Sunday announced her resignation following outrage sparked in the central European country by a decision to pardon a man implicated in child sexual abuse case.
“I am resigning my post,” said the President who is the close ally of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, acknowledging that she had made “a mistake”.
“I apologise to those who I hurt and all the victims who may have had the impression that I did not support them. I am, I was and I will remain in favour of protecting children and families,” Novak, 46, said.
Africa Today News, New York reports that Novak, a former minister for family policy became the first woman to hold the essentially ceremonial role of president in March 2022.
The controversy was sparked by the pardon given last April, amid a visit by Pope Francis to Budapest, to a former deputy director of a children’s home who helped to cover up his boss sexually abusing kids and adolescents there.
Since the independent news site 444 revealed the decision last week, the country’s opposition has been calling for Novak’s resignation.
Minutes after her announcement, another ally of Orban, Judit Varga, also announced her “withdrawal from public life” for having given her approval for the pardon as justice minister — a post she quit in order to lead a European Parliament election bid.
“I renounce my mandate as an MP and the head of the list for the European Parliament,” she said on Facebook.
In a related development, the legal proceedings surrounding the alleged sexual assault involving Australian rugby player Kurtley Beale have concluded with a verdict of not guilty in a Sydney pub restroom.
Prosecutors alleged that he had groped a 29-year-old woman and subsequently coerced her into oral sex in December 2022. However, the 34-year-old Wallabies sensation asserted that their encounter was consensual. His legal team contended that the woman had fabricated the accusations to gain sympathy from her fiancé.
After a comprehensive two-week trial, a jury has exonerated Mr. Beale of three charges. This decision sets the stage for Mr. Beale, who faced suspension by Rugby Australia upon being charged, to make a comeback in the sporting arena.