(dpa) - Spain's Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who won a second consecutive term in the elections a month ago, presented his government programme on Tuesday, seeking support against the country's failing economy.
Zapatero presented his programme to parliament ahead of a vote to elect him prime minister later this week.
The global economic circumstances were less favourable than four years ago, Zapatero warned, pledging measures including talks with employers and trade unions, and a re-employment plan for the unemployed.
The measures are to target especially the once-booming construction sector, whose rapid meltdown is expected to kill some 400,000 jobs.
The Bank of Spain expects growth to plunge from 3.8 per cent in 2007 to 2.4 per cent this year. The Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) bank predicted a growth as low as 1.9 per cent.
The economic measures would not undermine social security benefits, Zapatero pledged, appealing for support for "a clear idea of Spain."
The country would be "prosperous and also decent," efficient and with an engagement for peace, against climate change and poverty, the premier said.
Zapatero also called for a consensus of all the parties against the militant Basque separatist group ETA, after his failed attempt to negotiate with the group earned the disapproval of the opposition conservatives during the previous legislature.
The Socialists increased their number of seats by five to 169 in the March 9 elections, but remained short of an absolute majority in the 350-member parliament, and Zapatero was not expected to get enough votes to be elected in the first round on Wednesday.
The second round, in which a simple majority is sufficient, would then take place on Friday.