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While within the chamber Pere Aragonès was defending his political project against the criticisms of the opposition, his political mentor hijacked the media interest at the moment of his return this morning to the Parliament of Catalonia, a visit that took place precisely so that he could personally give his support to the president-to-be. Oriol Junqueras had applied for a prison leave permit in order to witness the first investiture in the best part of a century for a Catalan president from the Republican Left (ERC), the party he leads.

In ERC ranks they were exultant, just hours before the definitive vote which would materialise Aragonès's rise to the Catalan presidency. The party's main leaders - Vilalta, Sabrià, Torrent, Serret - received Junqueras at the entrance to the Catalan chamber with warm embraces. Once inside, the jailed ERC president ascended the last flight of the grand staircase with his fist raised, while the other members of his team gave him a long standing ovation.

Puigdemont, "delighted"

"What a fascist army took away from us by force of arms, we have recovered by the force of the ballot box," he told Catalan TV moments later - in reference to Franco's 1939 occupation of Catalonia which ended Republican rule. In line with the objectives set by Pere Aragonès during his investiture speech, Junqueras emphasized the importance of Catalonia having "an ERC president", now when it is facing "gigantic challenges" as a result of the post-Covid crisis. At the same time, he stressed that his goal is to "turn this country into a Republic if its citizens want to do so" and that the only way to do that is to insist on "the broad path", "to be more and build great majorities". to make "the referendum inevitable."

Oriol Junqueras arriba al Parlament investidura Aragonès aplaudiments Sergi Alcàzar

Junqueras applauded in Parliament. / S. Alcazar

On the agreement his party signed with Junts, which the two pro-independence political groups sweated until the last minute of the time permitted, he declared himself "convinced that [Puigdemont] is delighted with the agreement", because it was negotiated and agreed with his people, and overwhelmingly backed by the Junts membership.

The former Catalan vice-president imprisoned for his part in the 2017 referendum Junqueras will, according to ERC sources, also be present at the swearing-in ceremony for Pere Aragonès on Monday, the formal event to be held at the Palau de la Generalitat. The last time the ERC president climbed the stairs to Parliament was a few days after he was granted an open prison regime, in the midst of campaigning for the February 14th election. Back then, however, it was not a historic day in the Catalan chamber, there were no cameras and there were practically no MPs. Only the then-speaker of the chamber, Roger Torrent, who received and accompanied him.

In the main image, Junqueras, with his fist raised, enters Parliament. / S. Alcazar

According to sources close to the ERC leader,