Mexican President-elect Andres Obrador has announced plans to slash the salaries of high-level officials, including himself, as part of an austerity push by the government. Obrador told newsmen outside his campaign headquarters that he would raise the national minimum wage in order to “make the budget reach everybody.” He met with members of his future cabinet there earlier. His monthly base salary would be 108,000 pesos (about 5,700 U.S. dollars), 40 per cent of what President Enrique Nieto currently earns, said Obrador, who will take over the Mexican presidency on Dec. 1.
The president-elect recently announced that he was cancelling the generous pensions paid to former presidents, all of whom are wealthy, and a slew of bonuses and fringe benefits provided to lawmakers and other officials. The austerity plan aims to redirect some 500 billion pesos (about 26.4 billion dollars) a year towards welfare and development programs. In addition to public-sector belt-tightening, Lopez Obrador seeks to pass laws to combat graft. Mexico ranks 135 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index.
Obrador’s left-of-center National Regeneration Movement (Morena) won a majority in Congress, so proposed
bills are virtually ensured congressional approval.