Self-imposed minimum wage for new leftie French MP

Self-imposed minimum wage for new leftie French MP

Paris (AFP) - A newly elected radical left member of France's parliament said Monday he will make good on a campaign promise by accepting only the minimum wage -- less than a quarter of an MP's normal salary.

"I made three pledges to voters," journalist and filmmaker Francois Ruffin said on French radio. "Pay myself the minimum wage, have a revocable mandate, and if 25 percent of my constituents want me to leave, I'll leave."

Ruffin said he would forgo the MP's monthly salary of 7,100 euros ($7,925), taking the state minimum wage of 1,480 euros and putting the remainder into "projects".

Ruffin, who was among the main instigators of last year's "Nuit Debout" ("Up All Night") anti-government movement, ran on the ticket of the radical left France Unbowed party.

He directed the prize-winning film "Merci Patron!" ("Thanks Boss"), a wickedly comic takedown of France's richest man, Bernard Arnault, the owner of the LVMH luxury goods empire.

Ruffin said winning the seat was a "miracle", praising his campaign workers for "tearing people away, not from voting for (President Emmanuel) Macron, but from... abstention, resignation, disillusionment."

He said Macron's centrist Republic on the Move (REM) won only "partial legitimacy" given the record-low turnout in Sunday's second-round vote of just under 44 percent.

Early last month, influential daily Le Monde published a scathing editorial by Ruffin in which he told Macron, a former banker who has vowed to carry out business-friendly reforms: "You are despised".

"With the bourgeoisie that surrounds you, you are inflicted with social deafness," he wrote. "You don't hear the rumblings."

On Monday, Ruffin warned: "If it's a monolithic bloc which goes forward with its laws, cocksure and dominant, well, it will be outside the National Assembly that things will happen".