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France, Politics

Sarko’s « shielding the oligarchy from the economic crisis » says radical Melenchon as gulf between rich and poor widens

France has become much more unequal in recent years, new official figures show.

The richest 1% have seen their assets swell by 47% between 2004 and 2010, according to national statistics agency, INSEE.

The top 1% have « net »  assets of 1.9 million euros, the figures show.

The gap between the top 10% and the poorer 50% of households has also widened, by almost 10%.

The top 10% have at least 552,300 euros in « net » assets while the bottom 10% of households have less than 2,700 euros, which is less than 0.1% of the total.

Jean Luc Melenchon, leader of France’s Left Front, an alliance of the French Communist Party and other left-wingers, blamed the right-wing administration of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

He said figures show that « the policies of the President have born fruit – a tiny minority have seen their wealth grow at the expense of the people.

« Thanks to tax giveaways the Right has shielded a handful of oligarchs from the crisis. »

Melenchon, a former member of the Socialist Party, says the refusal of Sarkozy’s party, the UMP, to tax the wealthy in its 2012 budget, shows it is a party of the « privileged »

The Left Front is calling for a « radical change in the distribution of wealth » including a cap on income at 20 times the average to stem the accumulation of wealth.

Sarkozy’s 5-year term of comes to an end next Spring.

Jean Luc Melenchon’s blog

INSEE figures

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope

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