BAGHDAD – Iraq’s prime minister said Friday he’ll return half of his annual salary to the public treasury in a symbolic gesture that appeared calculated to insulate himself from the anti-government unrest spreading across the Middle East.
It was a stunning statement for Nouri al-Maliki, who has resisted disclosing his pay in the five years he has led Iraq.
Al-Maliki narrowly secured a second term in office after months of political negotiations last year. He is believed to earn at least $360,000 annually.
“Fifty percent of my monthly salary will be reduced, starting from the current month, as a contribution from me to reduce the difference in the salaries of the state officials,” al-Maliki said in a statement Friday.
“That will help limit the differences in the social living standards for different classes of the society.”