Zapatero promises jobs, homes and nursery places
Opposition attacks PM for repeating 2004 schools pledge.
17 December 2007
MADRID - With the March general elections looming closer, Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero this weekend made a slew of promises for the next four years that included two million new jobs, 1.5 million subsidised homes and nursery space for 300,000 children.
The opposition Popular Party (PP) was quick to criticise this last promise, which Zapatero made on Sunday at an education conference at Socialist headquarters in Madrid. The announcement of 300,000 new nursery spots if the Socialists are re-elected "is bordering on the shameless," said PP social policies chief Sandra Moneo, pointing to the same promise made during the Socialists' 2004 election campaign.
Moneo said that during this term Zapatero's government "has not contributed one euro" to making education free in the lowest age range, leaving regional governments to make that financial effort "with great difficulty."
Zapatero, who said he feels "passionate" about education, also announced that if re-elected, there will be no further educational reforms in the next four years. The statement came shortly after an OECD report showed poor results for an education system which has undergone many changes in recent years.
Speaking a day earlier Zapatero announced some of the economic measures that he will undertake if victorious, including the creation of two million jobs over the next four years. The prime minister also promised to back the construction of a million and a half subsidised homes over the next decade, including 600,000 rental apartment units, and to bring Spain's per-capita income up to speed with to the highest tier of the group of EU-15 members, excluding Eastern European countries.
[Copyright EL PAÍS, SL./ S. PÉREZ DE PABLOS / SUSANA URRA 2007]
Subject: Spanish news