CRF Blog

Rich President, Poor President

by Andrew Costly

In 2011, The Richest web site listed the top 10 highest-paid political leaders in the world, according to their reported annual salaries. Here were the results (in U.S. dollars):

Prime Minister of Singapore – $2,856,930
Chief Executive of Hong Kong – $513,245
President of Kenya – $427,886
President of the United States of America – $400,000
President of France – $345,423
Prime Minister of Canada – $296,400
President of Ireland – $287,900
Prime Minister of Australia – $286,752
Chancellor of Germany – $283,608
Prime Minister of Japan – $273,676

The least paid was the Prime Minister of India- $4,106.

In 2012, the Huffington Post UK web site listed the top 10 highest-paid political leaders in the world, too. Here were those results (in U.S. dollars):

Prime Minister of Singapore – more than $3,000,000
Chief Executive of Hong Kong – $550,000
Prime Minister of Australia – $481,000
Prime Minister of Kenya – $427,886
President of the United States of America – $400,000
Chancellor of Germany- $303,800
President of France – $302,435
Prime Minister of Canada – $296,400
Prime Minister of Ireland – $287,900
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom – £142,000 (or about $216,151 USD)

Mujicatopolansky

President and First Lady of Uruguay, José Mujica and Lucía Topolansky (2010).(Wikimedia Commons.)

Today, President Jose Mujica of Uruguay is reported to be the “poorest president” in the world, according to BBC News. He donates 90% of his monthly salary of $12,000 to charity. He and his wife declared assets in 2012 consisting of their farm land, a farm house, a tractor, and a 1987 VW Beetle, all valued at approximately $215,000. Instead of moving into the grand presidential palace, he and his wife choose to stay in their farm house off a dirt road outside the capital, Montevideo.

His apparent poverty is self-imposed. “I may appear to be an eccentric old man,” President Mujica states. “But this is a free choice.”