Paris: The first thing France's new President Francois Hollande will do when he takes office on May 16 will be to cut his own salary it seems. Hollande's favourite word in this campaign was "justice" and justice will begin at home. France's new President has been projecting himself as "Mr Normal" and has been saying the rich and the ultra rich will have to make sacrifices. So austerity it shall be - not to tackle the Eurozone crisis of course, but where Hollande thinks it's needed.
Those who earn more than a million euros annually, and there are not many in France, are terrified Hollande will stick to his election promise of slapping a 75% tax on them. But before that, Hollande's close aides say, he will cut down his own salary. A reduction of 30% is expected. A move in stark contrast to what his predecessor did when he came into office. Nicolas Sarkozy gave himself a raise of 170%. Now, instead of the 19000 EUR that Mr. Sarkozy earned every month, Mr. Hollande will get only 13000 EUR. Not a drastic cut, but a considerable one nevertheless is expected. His ministers won't be spared either. There are reports that they too will get a one-third salary cut.
His criticis said he lacked the stature of a head of state. But clearly Hollandes winning formula is not about distancing himself from people with his elevated status. He is trying to show instead that he wants to be closer to regular people. After he won, Hollande was asked what will become of his scooter when he moves to the Elysee, he said he'll use it when he can. But special security protocols are already in force, and they may separate Mr Normal from his scooter for good.
Story first published:
May 09, 2012 21:04 IST