Mexican president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador held a news conference in the capital city of the country to make an important announcement. He planned to cut his own salary by more than half for the sake of Mexican economy.
Lopez Obrador pledged to earn less than 50 percent of what his predecessor made when he takes office in December. He was making this great gesture as part of an austerity push in government.
“What we want is for the budget to reach everybody,” he said.
The president-elect said he will only earn 108,000 pesos a month, which is $5,734 at current exchange rates. He also made it very clear that no other government official would be allowed to make more than what the president does during his six-year term.
The current Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto makes 270,000 pesos ($14,337) a month.
Lopez Obrador explained he wanted to cut the salary further more but that may discourage other people coming from different backgrounds such as academics, and people from the private sector who already make money from becoming future Cabinet members.
The 64-year-old restated his campaign promise to cut back on perks including private chauffeurs, private medical insurance and bodyguards enjoyed by senior government officers, because they enjoy on the expense of taxpayers’ funds.
The presidential hopeful also said ex-presidents will not receive pensions, as he promised to finish corruption and violence from the country. He also plans on raising the pensions for elderly Mexican people, so as to make the lives of the general Mexican audience better and take money out of the hands of drug cartels.
Out of 180 countries, Mexico is on the 135th rank in Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Perception Index, with higher numbers indicating higher levels of corruption.
Lopez Obrador said public officials will have to disclose their assets and corruption would be considered as a serious offence during in his term, if elected.
“This is what we need,” said Josefina Arciniega, 57, who earns 12,000 pesos a month as an administrative assistant. “We are fed up.”
Another supporter, Orlando Alvarado, a chemical engineer said, “A lot of Mexican professionals don’t even make 6,000 pesos a month. I’m talking about accountants and doctors.”
Thumbnail/Banner Image: Reuters, Gustavo Graf