Hungary's President Resigns Over Sex Abuse Pardon Scandal

    Hungary's President Resigns Over Sex Abuse Pardon Scandal
    Photo: Horacio Villalobos#Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • Hungarian Pres. Katalin Novak announced her resignation in a televised address on Saturday amid public outrage over a pardon she granted to a man convicted in a sexual abuse case at a state-run children's home.

    • Novak, the first female president of Hungary, acknowledged that she had "made a mistake" and issued an apology stating "the pardon granted and the lack of explanation may have given rise to doubts about zero tolerance of paedophilia."


    The Spin

    Narrative A

    Novak is an outspoken champion of family values and would never pardon crimes committed against children. However, it's clear she made a mistake in freeing a pedophile in the belief that the convict didn't abuse the vulnerability of the children entrusted to him. The president must be applauded for making a responsible decision.

    Narrative B

    Even if Novak's role was essentially ceremonial, she could have been vigilant before granting a pardon to a man implicated in a child sexual abuse case. However, it's evident that the close ally of Hungary's authoritarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, is made a scapegoat to calm national anger. No important decisions are taken in the country without the conservative leader's approval.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 4% chance that Hungary will experience a successful coup d'etat before 2040, according to the Metaculus prediction community.


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