Former Hungarian President Katalin Novak. [PHOTO: COURTESY]

Hungarian President Katalin Novak has announced her resignation amid growing public backlash over her decision to pardon a man involved in a child sexual abuse case.

Addressing the nation in a televised speech on Saturday, Novak acknowledged her mistake, stating, “I decided to grant a pardon last April, believing that the convict did not exploit the vulnerability of the children whom he had overseen.”

“I am resigning my post,” Katalin Novak said, acknowledging that she had made a mistake. “I apologize to those who I hurt and all the victims who may have had the impression that I did not support them,” Katalin Novak added. “I am, I was and I will remain in favour of protecting children and families.”

Thousands of protesters gathered in Budapest, demanding her resignation after she pardoned individuals, including a children’s home deputy director involved in concealing the crimes of the former director.

Novak, a close ally of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, apologized to victims and their families but faced calls for resignation from Hungarian opposition parties. The resignation comes less than two years into her tenure as Hungary’s first female president.

The sexual abuse case

A massive controversy emerged after President Katalin Novak gave clemency to a man jailed for forcing children to retract sexual abuse claims, against a director of a state-run children’s home.