Luis Rubiales hit out at “false feminism” and a “social assassination” of his character as he vowed to stay on as head of Spain’s football federation (RFEF) amid fierce criticism and a Fifa investigation for kissing Spain’s Jennifer Hermoso on the lips during the Women’s World Cup final trophy presentation.

In a passionate speech at an extraordinary general assembly of Spain’s football federation, the 46-year-old reiterated that he would not be forced out of his role by what he felt was a witch-hunt. “I will not resign,” he repeated emphatically. “I will fight this to the end.”

He characterised the events of the past five days as a “social assassination,” adding: “They are trying to kill me.” Rubiales linked the events of the past days to what he described as “false feminism, one of the scourges of this country”. The remark sparked a smattering of applause from the federation members in the audience.

One day earlier, Spanish media had widely reported plans by the football chief to resign. The surprise twist prompted a torrent of reaction across Spain, with many renewing calls for Rubiales to resign.

“What we have seen today at the federation’s assembly is unacceptable,” Yolanda Díaz, Spain’s acting labour minister and second deputy prime minister said on social media. “The government must act and take urgent measures: impunity for machista [male chauvinist] actions is over. Rubiales cannot continue in the position.”

The country’s acting minister of equality, Irene Montero, who earlier this week described the kiss as a “form of sexual violence,” said on social media that Rubiales was “seeking impunity.” Given his refusal to resign, Spain’s public prosecutor and the National Sports Council would take action, she added. “Now, more than ever, Jenni Hermoso, you are not alone.”

Rubiales began his remarks on Friday with an apology for grabbing his crotch, describing it as an “unfortunate” gesture made in the “euphoria” of the moment. He argued that the kiss planted on Hermoso was consensual, claiming that he had asked her if he could give her a little peck. “She said okay.”

Minutes after the kiss – delivered on stage during the official post-match ceremony – was captured on camera, Hermoso said on a live stream afterwards that she “didn’t like it”.

The Fifa disciplinary committee on Thursday informed Rubiales that his actions in Sydney may have violated its disciplinary code. The world football governing body’s intervention came after days of pressure, including strong rebukes from the Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez, the world player’s union Fifpro, and a number of leading figures in football.

In addition the Futpro union in Spain, which Hermoso has said is representing her interests in this case, had expressed its “firm and resounding condemnation” for behaviour “which violates the dignity of women”.