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French lawmakers vote to cut pay of president, PM

20 july 2012, 19:16
French lawmakers voted Thursday to reduce the salaries of President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault by 30 percent as part of a series of budget-cutting moves, AFP reports.

The lower house National Assembly thus endorsed one of the first decisions made by Hollande after he came to power in May, bringing his and his prime minister's monthly salaries down from 21,300 euros ($26,100) per month to 14,910 euros.

Government ministers will also see their pay cut by 30 percent to 9,940 euros a month.

Earlier in the day, the lawmakers backed a raft of other measures abolishing tax breaks and taxing the wealthy as the new Socialist government pursued efforts to kickstart the economy with a tax-and-spend programme.

The measures were part of the first budget bill presented by Hollande's government since he unseated right-wing Nicolas Sarkozy in May with pledges to focus on growth instead of austerity.

During the debates Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac defended the measures as "a tough effort asked of those who can" afford it.

The right accused the Socialists of "lying" during the campaign and of hitting the middle-class with unexpected tax hikes.

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