Francois Hollande, the Socialist candidate tipped to become France’s next president at elections in April, has toughened his attack on the wealthy, saying top earners should pay 75 percent of their income in tax.
Speaking on prime time television on Monday evening, the current front-runner promised that if elected he would scrap billions of euros of tax breaks enacted by incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy that favor the wealthy:
“Above €1 million ($1.3 million), the tax rate should be 75 percent because it’s not possible to have that level of income,” he said, according to the BBC.
On Tuesday, during a tour of France’s annual agriculture fair, he said the tax was “sending out a signal, a message of social cohesion,” adding that it was simply a case of “patriotism to accept to pay extra tax to get the country back on its feet again,” Fox Business reported.
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At his first campaign rally late last month, Hollande said that the “enemy” was “the world of finance.”
He has already announced plans to raise taxes on high incomes and cut tax on profits for small and medium-sized companies, according to the Agence France Presse.
The proposed 75 percent tax bracket was immediately condemned by his political opponents.
Foreign Minister Alain Juppé denounced the idea as “fiscal confiscation,” while far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen, currently polls third in the presidential race opinion polls, asked sarcastically: “And why not a 100 percent rate?”
Upon coming to power in 2007, Sarkozy introduced a “tax shield” capping tax at 50 percent of all income. He and Hollande are predicted to contest a run-off on May 6, after eliminating all of the other candidates on April 22.
An opinion poll published Tuesday showed Sarkozy narrowing the gap between the pair, having halved Hollande’s lead to 3.5 percentage points within a week, Reuters reported.
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