Puigdemont came from a family of bakers. After education in Amer and Girona, he became a journalist in 1982, writing for various local publications and becoming or-in-chief of El Punt. He was director of the Catalan News Agency from 1999 to 2002 and director of Girona's House of Culture from 2002 to 2004.
On 6-7 September 2017, he approved laws for permitting an independence referendum, and the juridical transition and foundation of a Republic, a new constitution for Catalonia that would be in place if the referendum supported independence. On 1 October 2017, the Catalan independence referendum was held in Catalonia despite Spain's Constitutional Court ruling that it breached the Spanish constitution. Despite the Spanish Government's cyber attacks, the closing of polling stations and the use of excessive force by Spanish Police 43% of Catalan citizens managed to vote in the illegal referendum, 92% of them supporting independence. The Catalan Parliament declared independence on 27 October 2017 which resulted in the Spanish government imposing direct rule on Catalonia, dismissing Puigdemont and the Catalan government. The Catalan Parliament was dissolved and the Catalan regional election, 2017 was held. On 30 October 2017 charges of rebellion, sion and misuse of public funds were brought against Puigdemont and other members of the Puigdemont Government. Puigdemont, along with others, fled to Belgium and European Arrest Warrants (EAW) were issued against them. At the regional elections held on 21 December 2017 Puigdemont was re-elected to Parliament and Catalan secessionists retained a slim majority. Official results shown an actual support for independence of 47,6% versus a 43,5% that voted constitutionalist parties, the rest being non-aligned parties and blank votes. Puigdemont called for fresh talks with the then Spanish Prime MinisterMariano Rajoy but these were rejected.
Puigdemont remained in Belgium to avoid arrest if he returned to Spain, with this situation being defined as exile by some, self-imposed exile by some others, and also as fugitive from justice. On 25 March 2018, he was detained by a highway patrol in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein. He was released on bail, with the court deciding he could not be extradited for "rebellion" as German law does not coincide with Spanish law on the definition thereof, a requirement of his EAW. On 10 July, 2018 a Supreme Court judge suspended him as a deputy in the Catalan parliament. On 12 July 2018 a German court decided that he could be extradited back to Spain for misuse of public funds, but not for the more serious charge of rebellion. Following this, on 19 July 2018, Spain dropped the European Arrest Warrants against Puigdemont and other Catalan officials in exile.
Puigdemont (right) as a child with his elder brother
Puigdemont was born on 29 December 1962 in Amer, a small mountain village in the Province of Girona in north-eastern Catalonia. The son of Francesc Xavier Puigdemont i Oliveras, a baker, and his wife Núria Casamajó i Ruiz, he is the second of eight brothers. Puigdemont's grandfather, who fought in the Spanish Civil War before fleeing to France, founded the Pastisseria Puigdemont in 1928. The Puigdemont family still own the bakery located in Amer's main square. Puigdemont's great-grandfather and his uncle Josep Puigdemont were mayors of Amer and were supporters of Catalan independence, as was Puigdemont's father Xavier.
Puigdemont received basic education in Amer before, aged nine, he was sent to study at the Church-run Santa Maria del Collell boarding school in Girona where he was taught in Spanish and "learned to be a fighter". At the age of 16 he was already a reporter for the Diari de Girona newspaper, writing articles on football and other news.
Puigdemont joined the El Punt, a pro-independence Catalan language newspaper, as a journalist in 1982. He rose up the ranks to become the paper's or-in-chief. He also wrote a weekly column for the Presència magazine. He is a member of the Catalan Journalists Association.
Beginning in 1988, Puigdemont started collecting references about Catalonia in the international press, material that resulted in the publication of the 1994 book Cata... què? Catalunya vista per la premsa internacional ("Cata...what? Catalonia as seen by the foreign press"). During the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona Puigdemont was a member of an organisation supporting Catalan nationalists detained as part of "Operation Garzón".
In the 1990s Puigdemont took a year off work to study linguistic policies elsewhere in Europe. As a result, he started working on application of new technologies in the provision of news and founded the Catalan News Agency (ACN) which was established by the Generalitat de Catalunya in 1999. Puigdemont also founded the Catalonia Today, an English language magazine. Puigdemont was director of ACN until 2002, when the then-president of the Diputació de Girona, Carles Pàramo, offered him the position of director of the Girona cultural centre, the Casa de Cultura, a position he held until 2004.
Puigdemont and five other Catalan ministers (Dolors Bassa, Meritxell Borrás, Antoni Comín, Joaquim Forn and Meritxell Serret) arrived in Belgium on 30 October 2017. According to Spanish media the group had driven to Marseille shortly after the charges were laid before the Audiencia Nacional and from there flown to Brussels. Puigdemont claimed that he had gone to "the capital of Europe" to speak from a position of "freedom and safety" and that he would not return to Spain unless he was guaranteed a fair trial. Earlier Belgium's Secretary of State for Asylum, Migration and Administrative Simplification Theo Francken had stated that prospect of Puigdemont being granted asylum was "not unrealistic".
Forced into exile
Protest march in Barcelona in support of Puigdemont on 15 April 2018
On 3 November 2017 a Spanish judge issued European Arrest Warrants against Comín, Clara Ponsatí i Obiols, Lluís Puig, Puigdemont and Serret after they failed to attend a high court hearing in Madrid the previous day. On 5 November 2017 the five politicians, accompanied by their lawyers, surrendered to the Belgian police but after a ten-hour hearing a Belgian judge released them all on bail. They were ordered not to leave Belgium without permission and had to provide details of their accommodation. On 5 December 2017 the Supreme Court of Spain withdrew the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) against Puigdemont and four others stating that EAW weren't valid for alleged crimes committed by a wider group of people, e.g. the Catalan government. But judge Pablo Llarena warned that the national arrest warrants remain valid, meaning that the group risked arrest if they returned to Spain.
While remaining self-exiled, Puigdemont contested the 2017 regional election as a Junts per Catalunya (JuntsxCat) electoral alliance candidate in the Province of Barcelona and was re-elected to Parliament. At the election Catalan secessionists retained a slim majority in the Catalan Parliament. After the election Puigdemont called for new unconditional talks with the Spanish government and that he was willing to meet Rajoy outside of Spain. Rajoy rejected the offer, saying that he was only willing to speak with the leader of the Catalan government, whom he considered to be Inés Arrimadas, leader of the unionist Citizens, the largest single party in the Catalan Parliament.
On 1 March 2018, Puigdemont was hoping to be selected by the Catalan Parliament as President of Catalonia again, but the Catalan Parliament heeded warnings from Spain’s judiciary and postponed the session in which Puigdemont could be selected. Subsequently Puigdemont announced that he was no longer seeking re-election as leader of Catalonia. Later he announced the creation of a government-in-exile organization named "Council of the Republic".
On 25 March 2018, while returning to Brussels from a trip to Finland, Puigdemont was stopped near the Danish border with Germany and arrested pursuant to the European warrant that had been reissued against him two days previously. On 5 April 2018, the Oberlandesgericht in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein ruled that Puigdemont would not be extradited on the charges of rebellion, and released him on bail. The court confirmed that Puigdemont may still be extradited based on charges of corruption. According to that decision, Puigdemont was required to report to police once a week and could not leave Germany without permission of the public prosecutor.
After his release, Puigdemont called on Spain’s government to release Catalan separatists from imprisonment and establish a dialog with them. 
On 12 July 2018 the higher court in Schleswig-Holstein decided that Puigdemont could be extradited back to Spain to face charges of misuse of public funds, but not for the more serious rebellion charge. Puigdemont's legal team said they would appeal any decision to extradite him. Ultimately, though, Spain dropped its European arrest warrant, ending the extradition attempt. Puigdemont was once again free to travel, and chose to return to Belgium.