On Saturday afternoon, the President of the Republic, Katalin Novák, announced her resignation, having fallen into the trap of pardoning a person trying to cover for a pedophile. Her decision, made a year ago, became a scandal only after the news was published in the press. After the resignation of the President of the Republic, Judit Varga also resigned. As Minister of Justice, the politician countersigned the pardon petition that led to the resignation of the head of state. In her post, Varga took political responsibility for this and indicated that she would resign her parliamentary mandate and retire from public life.
Katalin Novák’s statement:
“Dear Hungarian people from here and beyond! I am speaking to you now. Not to the politicians, the policy makers, but to those whom I swore to serve two years ago. I took on this task because I passionately love Hungary, our country, and because I believe in you. I believe that ours is a peaceful, loving, caring nation. I believe in the silent majority, in people who work hard every day, in honor, in uprightness and in the power of love. We received these values from our grandparents and parents, and we want to pass them on to our children and grandchildren.
I made a gracious decision that caused confusion and unrest in many people. It is understandable that they expect an explanation. The power of pardon is perhaps the most sensitive of all. Because a person’s life must be decided on the basis of the pardon application and the available information. In April last year, I decided in favor of clemency in the belief that the convict did not abuse the vulnerability of the children entrusted to him. I was wrong, because the clemency decision and the lack of justification were suitable for raising doubts about the zero tolerance for pedophilia. There is no doubt here, and there can be no doubt. I would never pardon someone who I believe is physically or mentally abusing children. That’s how it was then and that’s how it is today. The task of the President of the Republic, also stemming from the Basic Law, is to show the unity of the nation. The child is our most important asset. I believe that the nation is united in this – despite all differences of opinion. Protecting children is our common duty. I gave birth to three children, so I personally experienced how much an unprotected, vulnerable life needs security and protection. As a Hungarian, I would expect the president of the republic not to make mistakes. If you do, face those to whom you owe an account and take responsibility. Even by resigning from the office of President of the Republic.
I apologize to those I have offended and to any victims who may have felt that I was not standing up for them. I was, am and always will be with children and families.
As head of state, I am addressing you today for the last time.
I am resigning from the office of President of the Republic. The decision was not difficult for personal reasons. It was hard because I took an oath. I now had to find an answer to the question of whether I would be able to continue exercising the office of president of the republic for the benefit of the Hungarian nation, faithful to my oath. Would I have the leeway needed to perform my duties well as a sovereign head of state? My answer to both questions is no. I apologize to those who now feel that I am letting them down. Those who now feel that hate has overcome love.
I had to ask myself the following question: what is my decision telling our children, the young Hungarians? I encourage them to serve with all their strength and talent, not to give up even in difficult moments, to hold out as long as possible, to take responsibility for their mistakes, and if they feel that they should sacrifice their sovereignty, then they should be able to hand over the place with dignity to someone else. Sovereignty is a precious treasure. Both for the person and the nation. Let’s take care of it!
Thank you for giving purpose and meaning to the task of president of the republic. Thank you for the meetings, which were the greatest gifts of these two years. Thank you for allowing me to sit on the stool, for being able to direct attention to places that are less accessible on weekdays. To those with whom I was able to work, I would like to thank them for their high-quality work, dedication, and humanity. I thank my family for always being a reliable background. I thank István that we have been together for twenty-five years in the good and the difficult moments. Thank you for helping to show that a man can support his partner just as a woman can. I thank Ádám, Tamás and Kata for letting me be their mother, and for giving purpose to the next phase of my life after public life. Politics is a tough, sometimes cruel world. Some people think that it is not suitable for us women. I don’t agree with that. Let’s not give up! We also need women in public life, because I believe that in time this world will become fairer, more peaceful and certainly more meaningful. I am grateful for being able to serve the Hungarian nation. God, bless the Hungarians! For YOURS is the kingdom, YOURS is the power, and YOURS is the glory.”
Minister of Justice, Judit Varga has also resigned
Judit Varga wrote on her social media page: since the system change, the validity of the president’s individual pardon decision requires the countersignature of the Minister of Justice. She continued the more than 25-year-old practice that the Minister of Justice takes note of the president’s clemency decision. She put it this way: she takes political responsibility for countersigning the president’s decision.
Judit Varga highlighted: she is retiring from public life, resigning from her mandate as a member of Parliament and from leading the EP list. She added: she gratefully thanks everyone for their work, with whom she was able to work in a team in recent years, and Hungary can count on her in the future to protect national interests and values.