Like any good citizen of the 21st century, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi saves his most important announcements for status updates. With his country on the cusp of financial disaster, the human suntan–sex maniac took to his Facebook page to deny whispers of his imminent downfall: "Rumors of my resignation are baseless," he wrote. And then it was back to Farmville.
Reports of Berlusconi's potential resignation sent stocks and government bond markets up immediately today. His denial sent them back down. Earlier, a newspaper editor wrote on his website, "That Silvio Berlusconi is about to resign is clear. It is a question of hours, some say of minutes."
Yesterday, Berlusconi was adamant that he has the support of parliament. "We maintain that there are no alternatives to our government until 2013," when elections will be held, he said. This week, the government will vote on financial measures and reforms that aim to kickstart the sputtering economy amid similar uncertainty across Europe. Berlusconi said that he "has verified that we have the numbers, for sure" to pass the measures, but a failure to do so could result in a push to form a new government. (All in favor, click "like.")
One longtime Berlusconi supporter in parliament who is now questioning the prime minister's ability to lead noted that soup kitchens across the country are packed; Berlusconi, explaining that everything is still cool, contended last week that "the restaurants are full."