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Lopez Obrador claims modest income, few possessions

Central bank challenges policy prohibiting most public employees from earning more than AMLO

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On Dec. 3, 2018, Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador holds his first news conference as president. Photo: AP

Mexico’s president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has relatively few possessions and earns less than his wife.

That’s some of what was revealed in a financial disclosure form published Friday.

Lopez Obrador cut his own pay to the equivalent of about US$65,000 per year when he took office on Dec. 1. His wife, writer and academic Beatriz Gutierrez, makes about US$72,000.

“I have never been interested in money, I fight for ideals,” Lopez Obrador said Friday, claiming he has never even owned a credit card.

The president has about $23,000 in savings, apparently in bank accounts; Gutierrez has three times that much.

In the disclosure form presented to authorities Thursday, he said Gutierrez has properties worth over $250,000.

Lopez Obrador said a three-acre/1.2-hectare compound he inherited from his parents in southern Chiapas has been signed over to his four sons, though he retains the right to live there.

While he eschewed material goods, Lopez Obrador did wax poetic about his love of the tree-lined Chiapas compound, where he spends little time.

“I have mahogany trees, cedars, ceiba trees … beautiful birds land in their branches, that is my place,” he said.

The rest of his cabinet will file the same financial disclosure forms, Lopez Obrador vowed.

But the president’s crusade for government austerity has run into opposition.

Mexico’s central bank asked the Supreme Court to review Lopez Obrador’s policy of prohibiting most public-sector employees from earning more than him.

Lopez Obrador argues the rule, although ignored for years, is written in Article 127 of the constitution.

The Supreme Court has suspended federal salary rules passed by Congress while it reviews the measure.

The constitution also says those who do “technical” or “specialized work” can make 50 percent more than the president.

Source: Associated Press

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