The first, and only, head-to-head debate between Adrian Delia and Bernard Grech will take place on Tuesday night. 

Times of Malta's assistant editor Matthew Xuereb will host the hour-long debate at 8.20pm, shown on NET TV, timesofmalta.com and on social channels.

It will take place four days before the new leader of the Nationalist Party is elected.

The electoral commission was originally reluctant to hold any debates amid concerns they might further divide the party.

However, it said it wanted to hold at least one face-to-face debate to show it is a party that has democracy at heart and where discussions can be held. 

A previous plan to host a debate, moderated by TVM journalist Ruth Amaira, ended up in a spat between the two contenders.

PN leader Delia accused his leadership rival Grech of trying to influence the veteran journalist ahead of a debate between the pair on Monday.  

Grech has denied the claim and PBS said Amaira had not confirmed her participation. 

In the past, PN leadership debates have been fiery. The commission is keen to avoid a repeat of “mistakes” committed in the 2017 leadership contest  - referring to a debate held between Delia and Chris Said, which degenerated into a quarrel.

However, Times of Malta insisted on an element of cross-debate during the discussion, the electoral commission agreed, warning the contenders that the debate will be stopped if it degenerated. 

There will be two features prepared by the candidates, an introductory bio and another on their vision and policy ideas. The two contenders will then be asked a set of questions and have two minutes to answer each one before debate. 

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