Internet rumors were swirling yesterday when two Italian journalists claimed to have inside information suggesting that Silvio Berlusconi would resign as Prime Minister.
On news of the impending resignation, Italian stock markets rallied after having faced recent declines over debt concerns.
Berlusconi, however, took to Facebook yesterday night to put an end to the untimely news that he was stepping down. “Reports of my resignation are without foundation”, he announced on the social networking site.
Financial markets dipped once more when the scandal-prone leader denied plans to leave his post.
Today, Berlusconi faces a key budget vote in the chamber of deputies, the lower house of the Italian parliament. The vote is over the public accounts for 2010, and is an important test to show whether the prime minister still has a majority backing in the government.
Italy is facing mounting pressure to implement austerity measures in order to offset public debts which stand at 120% of the country’s GDP. Financial analysis fret that the Italy’s budget failure could send the Eurozone, and the Euro itself, into crisis.
Today’s vote is not a confidence vote, but Mr. Berlusconi has vowed to call one should it become apparent that allies have deserted his government.
Mr. Berlusconi has survived more than 50 confidence motions in the past.