Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Tuesday that he will return 29 percent of his first paycheck because his executive order reducing the presidential salary by 60 percent to 108,000 pesos ($5,375) a month had yet to be applied when the check was issued.
During his daily morning press conference, he said that in his first two weeks as leader of the nation he received 76,159 pesos ($3,790), of which he returned 22,313 pesos ($1,110).
"Due to the adjustment in the austerity plan I will receive 53,846 pesos ($2,680) for these two weeks," he said.
The president spoke of the importance of transparency in salaries and said that he asked executive-branch officials whose salaries will also be reduced to be equally open about their compensation.
Lopez Obrador announced months ago that he would be paid 60 percent less as president than predecessor Enrique Peña Nieto.
He said Tuesday that the pay cuts for officials would free up "sufficient resources" to finance economic development.
Prior to his administration, he said, Mexico had a "good for nothing" government that lived off the people, while high salaries for senior officials did not deter them from seeking to further enrich themselves at public expense.
"I am not wealthy and privileged, I come from below. I have to dress like this now," the besuited leftist leader said, alluding to his working-class roots.
Lopez Obrador says that the savings from reducing the pay and perks of senior officials will go toward improving salaries and working conditions for police, firefighters, teachers and other public servants.