Silvio Berlusconi has denied rumours that he could be preparing to resign as Italian prime minister as early as today. There is speculation that he could quit in favour of a new government led by his long-time deputy Gianni Letta. Despite Berlusconi’s denials, financial markets seem to believe the rumours are credible.
With trading looking to be improving as the rumours spread Berlusconi faces the somewhat ignominious realisation that his own departure seems to be linked by many to Italy’s economic fortunes. If he does quit, however, he will almost certainly want to paint his departure as a victory of sorts.
The rumours emerged as Italy’s lower house of parliament, the Chamber of Deputies, prepares to vote on the 2010 public accounts. It’s considered quite possible that the house will not approve the accounts, potentially triggering a new round of uncertainty over Italy’s economic future.