Berlusconi yesterday turned to the popular social networking site to announce he will not quit as Italian prime minister.

Rumours swirled around Rome that the billionaire was about to yield to pressure from EU leaders for a coalition government to step in to embrace tough austerity measures.

Berlusconi, who is facing a crunch budget vote in the Italian parliament this afternoon, went online to say he was staying where he was.

The 75-year-old wrote: ‘Reports of my resignation are completely unfounded and I don’t know where they have come from.’

He logged on to Facebook after leaving the Italian capital for a ‘prearranged appointment’, which turned out to be a meeting with members of his family at his luxury villa at Arcore near Milan – the place where his infamous ‘bunga bunga’ sex parties were held.

Later Berlusconi added another comment to his Facebook page, saying: ‘Let’s go forward, we must be ready to fight because if there were an unelected left-wing revolution against the government that would be the opposite of democracy.’

He also said he would initiate a confidence vote in order to see who betrayed him.

Rebel MPs have threatened to desert him in large numbers in this afternoon’s vote on Italy’s accounts for last year – an occasion that is being viewed by political commentators as a crucial test of his strength.

 Berlusconi, his country’s longest-serving post-war leader, is said to have the support of only about 300 of 630 MPs, and if he is defeated it is very likely he will resign.

Fresh elections would be held in January, a year earlier than planned.