The Socialist tipped to oust President Nicolas Sarkozy in upcoming presidential elections came under fire Tuesday after announcing plans to impose a 75 per cent tax rate on France's top earners.
Francois Hollande said late Monday on a television show that if he was elected in the vote in April and May he would slap the tax rate on all French people who earned more than a million euros ($1.3 million) a year.
On Tuesday he said that it was simply a case of "patriotism to accept to pay extra tax to get the country back on its feet again."
Hollande said in his first campaign rally late last month that the "enemy" was "the world of finance."
His new tax plans sparked fierce criticism and some ridicule from Sarkozy's UMP party.
Hollande "invents a new tax every week without ever proposing the smallest saving," said Budget Minister Valerie Pecresse, while Foreign Minister Alain Juppe denounced the plan as "fiscal confiscation."
When Sarkozy came to power in 2007, he introduced a "tax shield" that capped tax at 50 per cent of all income.
Opinion polls consistently put Hollande well ahead of Sarkozy in the presidential race.