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First comments after President Novák’s resignation

February 13th, 2024

A liberal analyst believes the opposition’s job is to pinpoint Prime Minister Orbán as the main cause of the paedophile pardon scandal, while the government side will try to use its media power to defend itself. A pro-government pundit writes that the events have shown Fidesz’s moral superiority.

Cutting short her visit to the aquatic world championship in Doha a full week after a scandal broke out over her decision to pardon the helper of a paedophile offender, President Katalin Novák flew back to Budapest on Saturday to announce her resignation on the public TV news channel. Within an hour, former Justice Minister Judit Varga followed suit. The Democratic Coalition reacted by suggesting that presidents should be elected by plebiscite, rather than by the parliamentary majority.

On 24.hu, Péter Pető thinks the opposition’s task is now to capitalise further on the scandal by indicating Prime Minister Orbán as the main responsible. Fidesz has framed itself as a protector of families and traditional Christian values and therefore pardoning a man convicted in a paedophile case is particularly sensitive an issue, he writes, since it may undermine the government’s credibility on many other issues as well, including corruption. On the other hand, Pető believes, Fidesz must exploit the resignation of the two personalities to show that their people are led by morality in their lives.

In Magyar Nemzet, Zsolt Bayer calls Pető’s article remarkable as the opposition is in fact trying to interpret the case as being emblematic of the whole pro-government camp. In reality, however, he writes, it shows that on the government side, even mistakes have moral consequences, unlike on the side of the opposition, where even crimes remain unpunished. As for the idea of the direct election of the President, he recalls that liberals who support it now, were against it during the years of the regime change because the probable winner was their adversary. He concludes by calling on his fellow government supporters to show their strength – ‘on the streets, if necessary’.



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