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In the first debate of this pre-election campaign, the president of Catalonia and candidate of the Republican Left (ERC), Pere Aragonès, criticized the absence of Carles Puigdemont, who was replaced in the encounter by the number 3 member of his candidacy, Josep Rull, to whom the Republicans are already referring as the "effective candidate" of Junts. "I would have liked all the list leaders to be present," Aragonès pointed out, words that did not please Rull, who demanded more sensitivity to Puigdemont's situation. Hours later, after receiving criticism on social media for his statements, Aragonès responded on X.

"I reiterate [my] readiness to hold debates, with everyone and wherever, in Northern Catalonia too. It is good and necessary for the country to know the proposals and the future vision of the head of each list. President Puigdemont does not want to debate. If he did want to, it would be as easy as setting a time and place. Because this is not about the format or the location. To refuse this and all the alternatives, despite all the facilities provided, is evidence that there is no will," Aragonès wrote in his post, after the debate this Monday morning. Junts chose to send the number 3 of the candidacy, ahead of Anna Navarro, the signing of the party for the number two list position in this election.

The debates, in the spotlight

Discussions between the parties in the run-up to the election campaign have marked these first weeks of April, given that Carles Puigdemont's situation in exile makes it impossible for him to participate in those held in Spanish territory. For this very reason, Pere Aragonès proposed a three-way electoral debate with Puigdemont and Illa in Northern Catalonia, where the Junts candidate is now residing, to discuss their different proposals for Catalonia. Illa refused and Aragonès reiterated his proposal, in this case a face-to-face meeting with Puigdemont, which the latter rejected, considering that the two pro-independence parties should not have a "face-to-face" session, but work "side by side."

Later, Junts asked the Catalan public broadcasting corporation for the debate to be broadcast on Catalunya Ràdio and TV3 to take place in Perpinyà, in Northern Catalonia, where they have recently reopened a studio. The party's campaign head, Albert Batet, justified this in order to guarantee "equal conditions" between the candidates when it comes to holding the debate, "without technical obstacles that prevent or hinder the full expression of president Puigdemont". Some of the parties expressed point-blank refusal to this proposal, while ERC asserted that it saw it with good eyes, reiterating that Aragonès is ready to debate anywhere and in any format.