The world has apparently reached the point where the best way for a politician to smother rumors of his impending resignation is to update his Facebook status. That's exactly what Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi did at around 7 a.m. this morning EST (1 in the afternoon in Italy), posting the following on his official Facebook page.
Translation: "Rumors of my resignation are unfounded." That appears to be Berlusconi's first official denial of rumors that his resignation will come in the next day or two as Reuters reported of an estimated "number of potential defectors at between 20 and 40" in Berlusconi's coalition in the Italian parliament, "which would be more than enough to bring down the government." Maybe a Facebook status update is the best way of shooting down those rumors, as they were started online in the first place, according to another Reuters report.
Earlier, Giuliano Ferrara, editor of the Foglio newspaper and a former minister seen as extremely close to Berlusconi, said on his website: "That Silvio Berlusconi is about to resign is clear. It is a question of hours, some say of minutes."
Franco Bechis, deputy editor of the center-right Libero newspaper, also said on Twitter that the 75-year-old media magnate would resign on Monday night or Tuesday morning.
So all of Italy's political intrigue is happening with social media now. But at least when it comes to bullying his coalition members into still supporting him, Berlusconi goes offline: "Berlusconi held late night talks with key allies" to shore up support "amid speculation that the opposition will provoke a confidence vote in parliament to bring down the government on Tuesday," according to Italian news agency ASNA.