Judit Varga, the former Minister of Justice, has resigned and withdrawn from public life after co-signing the presidential pardon that has caused a public outcry. While serving as a cabinet minister, Varga endorsed the highly controversial pardon signed by Katalin Novák, who resigned as President on Saturday afternoon.
Varga previously served as the Chair of the Committee on European Affairs and as a member of the National Assembly, and according to media reports, she was slated to lead the governing party’s list for the European Parliament elections on 9 June.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán posted a video on Facebook on Friday, stating his personal conviction that there is no clemency for paedophile offenders. The Prime Minister announced that he would initiate a constitutional amendment, sending a strong message to the President.
Following these events, Novák announced her resignation on Saturday afternoon. Subsequently, Judit Varga, the former Minister of Justice also returned her parliamentary mandate. In a post on her social media account, the former minister wrote:
‘I take political responsibility and resign from my position as a Member of Parliament and leader of the European Parliament list, withdrawing from public life. Since the regime change, the validity of an individual pardon decision by the President requires the signature of the Minister of Justice. I continued the practice of more than 25 years, whereby the Minister of Justice acknowledges the President’s pardon decision. I take political responsibility for co-signing the President’s decision. I retire from public life, resigning from my parliamentary mandate and the leadership of the EP list. I am grateful to everyone with whom I have had the privilege of working as part of a team over the past years. Hungary can continue to count on me in the defence of our national interests and values.’