Orban says president's resignation "correct"

Orban says president
# 18 February 2024 04:30 (UTC +04:00)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said President Katalin Novak's resignation was "correct" in his state of the nation speech here on Saturday, APA reports citing Xinhua.

"The resignation was correct; it strengthens us. I thank the president and the minister of justice on behalf of all of us, with a heavy heart," the prime minister said, one week after the resignations of Novak and former Minister of Justice Judit Varga.

Novak and Varga resigned following a child abuse pardon scandal that sparked national outrage and led to a mass demonstration of tens of thousands of people on Friday night.

Noting that the president's departure is "a great loss for Hungary," Orban said: "The overwhelming majority of Hungarians rejected her decision for clemency. The disturbed balance can only be restored with the resignation of the president and the election of a new one."

Orban said the Hungarian child protection system must be strengthened. "We need to comb through and supplement our laws aimed at protecting our children, from the Constitution to ministerial decrees," he said, calling for a new child protection legislative package to "be submitted to the National Assembly."

The Hungarian leader also spoke about Hungary's economic and political challenges, including maintaining growth, combating inflation, and the complexities of EU relations.

Hungary has emerged from a very difficult 2023 "by a very narrow margin" but the nation finds little reason for dissatisfaction with the results, Orban said.

Meanwhile, he criticized some European Union policies and advocated for a sovereignty approach to reclaim Europe's autonomy. He said the current crisis facing Europe will not be resolved by the "bureaucrats in Brussels," adding that a resurgence of a new right-wing movement across Europe, with Hungary playing a part, holds the potential to bring "real change."