Bolivian President-Elect takes 50% pay cut to aid social programs
Monday, January 2, 2006
So more staff can be hired for Bolivia’s education, health and social programs, President Elect Evo Morales announced that he and his cabinet will take a 50% pay cut. The 46-year-old leader slashed his future salary of about $3600 a month to $1800.
Raising Bolivia from its situation as one of the poorest countries in the world is a primary intention of the president elect. “It’s a question of sharing the country’s situation among us all.” said Morales. “This is a democratic revolution and we will answer the Bolivian people’s call.”
Cabinet ministers and all 157 members of Morales’ party that were elected to Congress will also take a 50% pay cut, Morales said. The salaries of 157 substitute congressmen will be eliminated.
Morales, who is known across the country as “Evo”, is Bolivia’s first native Indian president. Growing up in poverty has marked his politics. He often says, “For a handful of people there is money, for the others, repression.”
Evo will soon move from his rented single room of a shared house to Bolivia’s presidential palace.
Morales also met with business and civic leaders on Tuesday in a conciliatory meeting. Morales said his government would create a stable legal and economic environment to attract investment and create jobs which was applauded by the Bolivian elite.
“I do not have a professional education, but it is important that we co-operate. You have the professional capacity, I have the social consciousness”.