Either Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is in serious denial mode or he’s about to pull off a recession-defying stunt of unprecedented proportions, as pressure is mounting for the embattled PM to follow the example of his Greek counterpart George Papandreou and step down.

In true Berlusconi form — by which we mean bombastic and slightly delusional but propped up by so much money and power as to be able to buy into his own hype — he ignored calls for his resignation from his people and predictions from journalists and analysts that his hours in office were numbered and took to Facebook to make his stand. (Click here to “Like” his page.)

It’s never a hopeful sign when resignation rumors cause good things to happen on the stock market. But at least one expert commentator type, Dartmouth economics professor and Bloomberg Television editor David Blanchflower, cautions that pushing Berlusconi out won’t necessarily put Italy on the path to recovery. Blanchflower’s comments follow the excerpt below. –KA


Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi denied rumors Monday that he might resign.

“The rumors of my resignation are groundless,” a message on his official Facebook page said.

A press aide to Berlusconi also told CNN he had no plans to resign.

On Saturday, tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered in Rome to voice their opposition to his government and its reforms. Berlusconi, who has served as prime minister for 10 years, could face a vote of confidence this week over his handling of Italy’s economy. Analysts say he may no longer have the support of a majority in parliament.

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Bloomberg Television via The Washington Post:

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