Skip to main content
Menu Menu Close
Asia and the Pacific
Western Asia

Hungary - February 2024

Child abuse pardoning decision triggers public outcry and resignations

A news site revelation that President Katalin Novák pardoned a man convicted of covering up sexual abuse in a children’s home (in a decision countersigned by Justice Minister Judit Varga) unleashed unprecedented political pressure on the ruling elite, known for its traditional family-oriented politics. The scandal triggered concerns regarding the transparency and ethical considerations involved in pardon decisions and their potential impact on depriving victims of due justice. Investigative journalists reported that Zoltán Balog, the leader of the Hungarian Reformed Church, advisor and mentor to President Novák, and former Fidesz MP and minister in Orbán’s government, influenced this presidential pardon. Following pressure from the opposition and public outcry (including widespread protests), Novák and Varga resigned on 10 February. Novák made history as the country's first female president, while Varga was among the two women in Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's male-dominated cabinet. On 26 February, the parliament elected the ruling coalition Fidesz-KNDP's candidate Tamás Sulyok, former chief of the Constitutional Court, as the new president.

Sources:, Index, Reuters (1), Reuters (2), Daily News Hungary, BBC, Balkan Insight, Hungarian Government, Associated Press, VSquare

Primary categories and factors
Rule of Law -1 Rule of Law  (-1)
Predictable Enforcement
Secondary categories and factors
Rights Rights
Political Equality
Gender Equality
Participation Participation
Civic Engagement

See all event reports for this country