Schmitt dramatically announced his resignation at the end of an unscheduled speech in Parliament.
"The president represents the unity of the country. For me, this means that my duty in the current situation is to terminate my service and resign," he said, as quoted by the Budapest Business Journal.
Schmitt’s appearance came after Semmelweis University stripped him of his doctoral title last Thursday, stating that more than 90% of the work was copied from other authors without proper quotes or referencing.
However, on Friday in an interview with public television m1, a defiant Schmitt had said that he would not resign and described his thesis as an "honest" and "useful" piece of work. He added that he saw no link between his work as President and the loss his doctorate.
But apparently Schmitt underestimated the resentment of his nationals. While he spoke on television on Friday, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the presidential palace, demanding his resignation. Another protest was held in downtown Budapest on Saturday.
During the weekend even newspapers close to the Fidesz government such as daily Magyar Nemzet and weekly Heti Válasz published editorial articles in which they called upon Schmitt to go, for the sake of the country’s political and international credibility.
Schmitt, 69, has held the mostly ceremonial post of president since 2010. His term would normally last five years. He served as an ambassador during the 1990s, and was a vice-president of the European Parliament from 2009 to 2010.
After briefly serving as speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary in 2010, Schmitt was elected president by a 263-59 margin in the Parliament with the support of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.