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A deputy from German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) called Friday for Italy to leave the euro if it could not stick to EU rules after its inconclusive election.
"If one can't succeed in persuading the people of a country that they have to stick to the commitments they have themselves signed up to in terms of how the common currency works, then you can't demand new elections from outside, but the country must return to its own currency," said Klaus-Peter Willsch.
"If we want to return to peaceful and respectful cooperation in Europe and take seriously peoples' right to self-determination, we need to give up on this euro-Europe ideology," said the conservative politician, a known eurosceptic.
Germany, Europe's top economy and political powerhouse, has scarcely concealed its concern that uncertainty in Italy after its election could spark a reawakening of the eurozone crisis that has lain dormant for months.
On Thursday, Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said she had "confidence in the sense of responsibility of the political forces in Italy who now have to form a government capable of acting in this complex situation."
Political leaders around Europe are nervously watching the gridlock in Italy as wrangling between the main leftist party and a new anti-establishment movement has reduced the chances of a government being formed quickly.