Peer Steinbrück, the Social Democrat candidate for the German chancellor's position has said the country's top political position is not paid highly enough. He said local bank managers were mostly better off.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's main rival for the country's prime leadership position at next year's election said in an interview due to be published in full on Sunday that the job was underpaid. It carries a salary of 18,000 euros ($23,800) a month.
"Almost every bank director in North Rhine-Westphalia earns more than the chancellor," Steinbrück told Sunday's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in an interview. Excerpts of the discussion were released ahead of time on Saturday.
"A chancellor of Germany earns too little, measured by the performance they provide, in relation to other jobs with far less responsibility," he said.
Some politicians, including the last Social Democrat chancellor, criticized the claims that Germany's government head should be better paid. Gerhard Schröder disagreed with the current candidate's remarks.
Although not specifically referencing Steinbrück, Schröder told German mass-circulation newspaper Bild, "politicians in Germany are paid appropriately."
"And if the rewards are too low, a politician can always try some other career," the former chancellor said.
Steinbrück has been criticized in the past for his high personal earnings outside the political arena.
During his time as Merkel's finance minister from 2005-09, Steinbrück authorized official payments to a law firm where he later received 15,000 euros for a speech he gave to the organization.
He has since defended his personal earnings, saying he "harbors no erotic attraction" to money.
German cabinet ministers voted themselves their first pay increase in 12 years in May this year. The raise will be staggered over three years.
jlw / msh (dpa, dapd)