By Mehreen Khan 31 March 2015
Deputy leader of Angela Merkel's sister party steps down over financial aid for Greece
Germany has stood firm against Greek demands for debt relief Photo: 2015 Getty Images
Political tensions in Europe's largest creditor nation were laid bare after a senior ally of Angela Merkel's ruling party stepped down in protest at his government's support for a Greek bail-out.
Peter Gauweiler, deputy chairman of the Christian Social Union - the Bavarian sister party of the ruling CDU - said Greece was a "bankrupt state" and he could not serve as a member of parliament as long as his "dissenting vote against an extension of the current and completely ineffective program" was ignored.
Mr Gauweiler, a fierce critic of financial support for the Eurozone's indebted countries, was appointed vice-chairman of the CSU in November 2013 in a move to appease the growing Eurosceptic elements within his party.
The 65-year-old Bundestag veteran is being courted by Germany's AfD
"I have been publicly pressured to vote in the Bundestag for the exact opposite, on the grounds that I am a vice-president," said Mr Gauweiler in a statement on his website.
"This is incompatible with my interpretation of the duty of a legislator."
Leader of the CSU Horst Seehofer also came in for heavy criticism from Mr Gauweiler, who has lodged legal complaints with the German Constitutional Court against the European Central Bank's attempts to establish financial backstops and its purchases of government bonds.
Mr Gauweiler was also one of the 28 members of Ms Merkel's coalition to vote in opposition to Greece's bail-out extension in February.
The rapid rise of the Alternative for Germany party (AfD) who seek to force Greece out of the monetary union, has put pressure on Ms Merkel's ruling coalition.
Her conservative Christian Democrat party suffered its worst election result since the Second World War last month, at the hands of the euro sceptics.
The AfD have already made overtures towards Mr Gauweiler, extending an invitation for him to join their ranks on Tuesday.
The new Greek government is currently appealing for debt relief and the unlocking of a fresh round of bail-out money as it seeks to avert bankruptcy.
Speaking in Helskini on Monday, Ms Merkel warned Athens plans for reforming the economy must "add up".
Greece's April showdown
April 8 Alexis Tsipras meets Putin
Greek PM is due in Russia to visit his counterpart, Vladimir Putin. Greece has been making overtures towards its eastern giant, claiming it opposes economic sanctions on the country
April 9 IMF payment due
Greece is due to make a crucial €448m payment to the International Monetary Fun
April 10-13 Easter weekend
Greece celebrates Orthodox Easter weekend
April 14 Bond roll over
Government faces €1.4 billion in refunding 6-month T-bills
April 17 Bond roll over
Government faces €1bn in refunding of 3-month T-bills
May 1 Labour Day Bank Holiday