Live blog | The #ELPAISDebate, as it happened

Political leaders Pedro Sánchez, Pablo Iglesias and Albert Rivera went head-to-head live on elpais.com last night to discuss their proposals. Prime Minister Rajoy opted not to take part

The candidates look at Rajoy’s empty lectern during the debate.
The candidates look at Rajoy’s empty lectern during the debate.Claudio Álvarez (EL PAÍS)

On Monday night, EL PAÍS hosted the first Spanish election debate to be broadcast via its website. The pioneering initiative represents a milestone in the history of political debates in Spain, and fired the starting pistol for the race to reach La Moncloa prime ministerial palace for the lead candidates from three of Spain’s major political parties: Pedro Sánchez, of the Socialist Party (PSOE); Albert Rivera, from Ciudadanos; and Pablo Iglesias, from Podemos. EL PAÍS also invited Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, the Popular Party candidate for the election, but he declined to take part.

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That concludes this live blog of the #ELPAISDebate. We will return tomorrow morning with analysis
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After patiently observing the request for silence, the audience is given permission to applaud the candidates!
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Sánchez "Together we will do it again"
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Sánchez: "The PSOE has done a great deal in recent decades"
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Iglesias "The next decade is at stake at these elections"
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Iglesias: "I am not going to ask for your votes. That seems to me like the old way of politics"
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Rivera: "Times of change are coming."
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Rivera "We need to get back the best of Spain"
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Rivera "We need a new project for Spain. It won"t be easy."
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Iglesias: PM should earn the same as a tax inspector
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Rivera and Sánchez avoiding giving a figure on their salary as PM
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Rivera "Prime minister should earn a higher salary than a regional premier"
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Sánchez "My bank accounts are one click away on the Socialist webpage"
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Iglesias: "Local councils are, in our opinion, the most important"
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Rivera: "We are proposing the closure of provincial governments and the merging of councils"
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Debate ending with all three candidates and moderator trying to talk at once
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"Don"t interrupt me again Pedro, don"t interrupt me again" Pablo Iglesias has had enough of Sánchez"s interjections
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Albert Rivera "We need to return power to the citizens and get rid of the tentacles of the PSOE and the PP"
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Pablo Iglesias "It"s not expensive to rescue citizens. What"s expensive is [corruption case] Púnica"
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Pablo Iglesias: "I would like to remind Mariano Rajoy that the police spent 14 hours searching his party headquarters."
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