Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, Iceland’s president, told reporters today that he is not accepting a 600,000 ISK (5,300 USD/4,800 EUR) monthly increase of his salary, awarded last weekend by the official Salaries Tribunal (link in Icelandic). However, the president’s salary can’t be lowered, according to Iceland’s constitution.
Guðni’s solution is to donate the raise to a good cause. He refused to say which and commented “I’m not intending to be a kind of Mother Teresa, and brag about that,” and later clarified he was not suggesting that the Saint of Calcutta had been a braggart.
The Salaries Tribunal has the responsibility for determining the rates of remuneration for the president, members of parliament, government ministers, judges and more state employees.
On Monday it announced its decision (taken on Saturday) to raise the salary of the president, members of parliament and government ministers. The call has caused a huge outcry in Iceland, as the raise is much higher than has been handed to the general workforce. After the raise the pay of the elected representatives has been raised by 75% in the last three years, at the same time as salaries have risen on average by 29% in the country.
The annual base salary of a parliament member is 13.2 million ISK (117,000 USD/106.500 EUR) after the raise.
The annual salary of the president is 35.8 million ISK (317,000 USD/289,000 EUR). Before the raise it was 28.6 million ISK (253,000 USD/231,000 EUR).
Guðni was voted the president of Iceland in June, 2016.