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.