Mexico's leftist President-elect Andrews Manuel López Obrador announced plans to cut his salary from his predecessor Enrique Peña Nieto's $171,000 per year (270,000 pesos) to $68,544 - about enough to survive in San Francisco with three roommates.
"What we want is for the budget to reach everybody," López Obrador told reporters on Sunday. The President-elect said that he would have reduced his salary further, however he doesn't want to stoke resentment among future Cabinet members who are leaving private sector positions and academic posts that already pay more than the new ceiling for public officials.
López Obrador then reiterated several campaign promises, including cuts on taxpayer-funded perks for high-level government officials, such as private medical insurance, chauffeurs and bodyguards - though considering the 130 candidates who were assassinated during the election, he may want to reconsider on the bodyguards.
At the same time, he doubled down on pledges to stem corruption. Mexico ranks 135 out of 180 countries in Transparency International's 2017 Corruption Perception Index, with higher numbers indicating higher levels of corruption.
Public officials will have to disclose their assets, he said, and corruption will be considered a serious offense. -LA Times
Obrador's supporters cheered the proposals.
"This is what we need," said 57-year-old Josefina Arciniega, who earns 12,000 pesos a month as an administrative assistant ($635). "We are fed up."
Arciniega says she's tired of low-level public servants asking for bribes while she watches high-ranking officials living in luxury amid a country of struggling citizens.
Orlando Alvarado, a chemical engineer standing next to Arciniega, called Lopez Obrador's proposed presidential salary a dignified wage. -LA Times
"A lot of Mexican professionals don't even make 6,000 pesos a month. I'm talking about accountants and doctors," he said.
López Obrador's comments come weeks after he beat the candidate from the country's ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party to become Mexico's next president.