French president François Hollande’s hairdresser is paid a gross salary by the state of €9,895 a month.
Although just a third less than Mr Hollande’s salary, it is more than the gross monthly wage of a European Parliament member, which stands at about €8,213, excluding expenses.
The salary paid to the Socialist president’s coiffeur at the Elysee presidential palace was confirmed by the government after satirical magazine Canard Enchaine published details of the terms, including an image of his contract.
“Everyone needs their hair done, no?” Stephane Le Foll, the government spokesman, said after the weekly cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris.
“I can understand people’s questions, I can understand their judgments. He’s not just anybody, that’s all.”
The hairdresser issue sits at odds with Mr Hollande’s campaign promise in 2012 that he’d be a “normal” head of state in contrast with his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, who earned the label of the “bling-bling” president for his Ray-Ban sunglasses and fancy vacations.
It also comes at a time when Mr Hollande is seeking to push through a bill that would shrink workers’ benefits and making firings easier.
He has only just been picking up a little support in the polls after being France’s most unpopular president in history. He will face re-election next year if he chooses to seek a second term.
Revelations about his hairdresser come two years after one of his closest aides, Aquilino Morelle, was forced to resign amid allegations of a conflict of interest and also because he reportedly used his Elysee office, overlooking the palace’s lawn, to have a shoe-shiner come in to brush his expensive leather shoes.
The hairdresser, whose contract requires him to be on call at all times, is being paid a salary that’s comparable to that of some of Mr Hollande’s cabinet advisers.
The president himself has a gross salary of €14,910 per month, excluding bonuses and perks.
Twitter fans made fun of it all with altered photographs and videos, showing Mr Hollande with rock-and-roll or punk haircuts, and in various other guises as the Queen of England, former Paris Saint-Germain soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and the president’s ex-partner Valerie Trierweiler.
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