TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Puigdemont denied he was giving up following the publication of text messages in which he appeared to say “the battle is over”.
The messages were allegedly sent to a fellow fugitive MP, Toni Comin, and said that he had been sacrificed by his allies.
Puigdemont was apparently responding to a Spanish television broadcast of the messages, and tweeted that he was “human” and that “there are times that I also doubt”. But he insisted he is the President of Catalonia and “won’t cower or step back”.
“We continue!” he added.
Puigdemont fled to Belgium after organizing October’s independence referendum which was declared illegal. He faces arrest if he returns to Spain.
On Tuesday, the Catalan parliament postponed indefinitely a session in which Puigdemont was due to be re-elected president of the region.
The postponement left the pro-Catalan independence camp in disarray and the appointment of a president and formation of a new regional government uncertain.
The Spanish government seized control of the Catalonia region in late October, and called new Catalan elections in a bid to quell the region's illegal independence drive.
Puigdemont was re-elected as an MP in December. Spain's top court ruled recently that he could only be re-elected as president if he is physically present in the parliament in Barcelona and must first obtain court permission.
Spain's Telecinco published the phone text messages on Wednesday, saying they were obtained when Comin was seen checking his phone during the filming of an event.
In his tweet, Puigdemont did not mention the messages, but wrote: “I am a journalist and I have always understood that there are limits, such as privacy, which should never be violated.”
Spanish deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said “the time had come to accept publicly what is said privately”, and called on the Catalan parliament speaker to start contacts with regional parties to choose a new candidate.
Comin, one of four ex-Catalan ministers who fled to Brussels with Puigdemont, warned on Twitter he may take legal action over the publication of the messages, adding that “any message devoid of its context always loses its meaning”.
The text messages appear to have been sent around the same time as Puigdemont's camp aired a video of him reacting to the parliament postponement. He said he was standing firm and called on pro-independence MPs to remain unified in re-electing him.