Who is Katalin Novak? Everything to know about Hungarian President as she resigns over child abuse case pardon

President Katalin Novak of Hungary has announced her resignation from office in response to growing public outcry over her choice to pardon a man who was involved in a case of child sexual assault.

Published on Feb 12, 2024  |  12:00 PM IST |  27K
Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
Key Highlight
  • President Katalin Novak resigns under pressure to pardon a man convicted of covering up sexual abuse
  • Protests had been calling for her to step down had been growing in Hungary for her to step down

TRIGGER WARNING: This article contains references to sexual abuse.

President of Hungary Katalin Novak announced her resignation on Saturday, owing to pressure after she granted pardon to a man found guilty of aiding in the hiding of sexual abuse in a children's home. On Friday, thousands of protesters demanding Novak's resignation flocked to the streets of Budapest, the nation's capital. 

President Katalin Novak announces her resignation on X

The President shared a video on her X account where she announced her resignation saying, "I decided to grant a pardon last April, believing that the convict did not exploit the vulnerability of the children whom he had overseen,” Novak said in her speech during a national televised address on Saturday. I made a mistake, as the pardon and the lack of reasoning were conducive to triggering doubts about the zero tolerance that applies to pedophilia."


Ahead of Pope Francis's visit in April 2023, Novak had pardoned over two dozen individuals, including the deputy director of a children's home who had assisted the former director in concealing his crimes. The director was found guilty of sexually abusing young boys between 2004 and 2016 and was sentenced to an eight-year prison. 

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Who is Katalin Novak?

Early life and education

Born in 1977 in Szeged, Katalin Novák completed her education on scholarship at the University of Szeged, the National University of Public Service (NKE) in Budapest, and the University of Paris. 

Political career

In 2001, Novák began working for the government as an advisor in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and she left in 2003, according to her official biography. Following that, the economist raised her kids at home for six years, living in Germany for a portion of that time, before joining the Human Resources Ministry's cabinet as head of the cabinet in 2012 and serving as counselor to the minister of foreign affairs in 2010.

She emerged victorious in the National Assembly on March 10, 2022, garnering 137 of 188 votes. In the institution's history, Novák is the first female president.

Katalin Novak

Novak's political tenure

The National Assembly approved a measure in April 2023 that empowers and encourages people to report same-sex couples who have children to state agencies including child protection and the police. The bill was officially stopped from becoming law when Novák vetoed it. She denounced the invasion of Ukraine by Russia in May 2022.

She criticized Hamas's attack on Israel and stated her support for the country's right to self-defense in the Israel-Gaza war of 2023. Novák traveled to Israel on November 5, 2023, to show support for the nation.

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Know more about Katalin Novak

For how many years was Katalin Novak a member of the National Assembly?
Katalin Novak was a member of the National Assembly from 8 May 2018 – 1 May 2022.

Who is Katalin Novak's busband?
Katalin Novak is married to István Veres.

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