Carles Puigdemont, the ousted separatist leader of Catalonia, is abandoning his bid to be elected once again as president of northeastern region of Spain.
In a video message posted from Belgium where he's in exile, Puigdemont called the actions of the Spanish authorities only "a temporary setback."
"We will achieve independence for the people we represent," he said in English. "That is our mandate, and we will fulfill it."
Puigdemont fled Spain, where he faces arrest on sedition and rebellion charges, and took refuge in Belgium last fall. Spain rescinded its European arrest warrant against him in December after Belgium made clear it would not extradite him.