Much has been said about the Uruguayan President Jose Mujica, who donates up to 90 percent of his $144,000 annual salary to charity. In terms of actual wages, Mujica’s salary actually compares favorably to that of other leaders. Here is a list of the top 10 poorest presidents in the world based on annual salary.
10. Borut Pahor, Slovenia – $44,280
Borut Pahor of Slovenia became the President of his country in December 2012 after beating the then-incumbent President Danilo Turk in a runoff election. Pahor comes from the Social Democrats Party and was a member of the country’s National Assembly for a number of terms. He even served as chairman of the Assembly from 2000 to 2004. In 2004, he became a member of the European Parliament. In 2008, he became the Prime Minister of Slovenia after his party won the parliamentary elections. He was forced to step down in February 2012 after a loss of confidence because of an economic crisis. Barely 10 months later, he won the largely ceremonial presidential post.
9. Federico Franco, Paraguay – $40,000
Federico Franco became the President of Paraguay in June 2012. He is actually a surgeon by profession before becoming a member of the Authentic Radical Liberal Party. In 2008, he was elected as the Vice President as the running mate of the party’s presidential candidate Fernando Lugo. Lugo had to step down in the middle of 2012, however, after he was impeached in the Senate. Franco then took over the top post.
8. Xi Jinping, China – $39,720
Xi Jinping is the President of the People’s Republic of China, the largest nation in the world. He is also the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and the Chairman of the Central Military Commission. He is also a member of the Politburo. He used to serve as Governor of Fujian and Zhejiang before he got promoted to the central leadership in 2007, when he was immediately groomed for the top leadership.
7. Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus – $33,873
Alexander Lukashenko has been the President of Belarus since July 1994. Considered as the last dictator of Europe, he has maintained strict government control over the country’s crucial industries, going against the trend to privatization set by other former Soviet republics. A former member of the Soviet Red Army, he was actually the only deputy to vote against the independence of Belarus from the former Soviet Union. He has been criticized for his abysmal human rights record.
6. Pranab Kumar Mukherjee, India – $32,216
Pranab Kumar Mukherjee has been the President of India since July 2012. He has been with government for over 40 years. He first entered politics as a member of the Indian Upper House called the Rajya Sabha. He then became one of the most trusted assistants of then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. He served in a number of cabinet positions, as well as a leader in the parliament. He had a brief falling out with the Congress Party after the assassination of Gandhi when Indira’s son, Rajiv, took over. The two later made up and Mukherjee became the party’s top troubleshooter. He then became Union Finance Minister before getting elected as President.
5. Marin Raykov Nikolov, Bulgaria – $26,929
Marin Raykov Nikolov has been acting Prime Minister of Bulgaria since March 2013. He took over after the resignation of the previous Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, who has been accused of corruption, money-laundering, connection with organized crime, curtailing press freedom, racism and xenophobia. Low living standards and the high cost of energy led to huge nationwide protests that forced him out of office. Raykov then took over as both provisional Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister after his appointment by Rosen Plevneliev, the President of Bulgaria. Raykov also once served as the country’s ambassador to France.
4. Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe – $18,000
Robert Mugabe has been the President of Zimbabwe since December 1987. He was once seen as a hero after leading guerrilla forces against the then-white rulers of Rhodesia. He took power in 1980 as Prime Minister before becoming President in 1987. He has been involved in a number of controversies, specifically the plunder of neighboring Congo in the guise of helping the latter’s government. His land reform program has also been characterized by violence as he seeks to redistribute land that was inequitably distributed during his country’s time as a colony of the United Kingdom.
3. Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan – $6,300
Hamid Karzai has been the President of Afghanistan since December 2001. He has led the landlocked Central Asian nation since American forces helped remove the Taliban regime in the aftermath of 9/11. He was first elected as Chairman of an interim administration by other political figures of his country during an international conference on Afghanistan held in Germany. He then became interim President after a vote by the Grand Assembly in 2002. In 2004, he formally won the office after winning the popular vote in presidential elections. He was then re-elected in 2009.
2. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran – $3,000
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been the President of Iran since August 2005. He is the leader of a coalition of conservative groups in his country called the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran. A teacher by profession, he became active after the Islamic Revolution of 1979 when he joined the Office for Strengthening Unity. After a stint as a provincial governor, he went back to teaching, only to return to the limelight after getting elected as Mayor of Tehran in 2003. He ran as President in 2005 espousing a hard line and extremely conservative stance, winning the elections by attaining up to 62 percent of the vote in runoff elections. He survived domestic protests over his economic policies and international criticism over his belligerent stance to win a second term in 2009, though the results were widely disputed.
1. Pope Francis, Vatican – $0
Pope Francis is Jorge Mario Bergoglio and he assumed the leadership of the state of Vatican in March 2013 after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Though the Vatican is the smallest independent state in the world, the Pope’s influence is much larger because he also serves as the Bishop of Rome and head of the Roman Catholic Church. He was born in Argentina, though he is of Italian descent. He is known for his simple and frugal ways.
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