ROME, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Italy's anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), the largest opposition force in the country, voted in favor of leaving the euro-skeptic bloc within the European Union (EU) parliament on Monday.
Some 78.5 percent of people voting in an online poll supported the proposal of cutting ties with the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFDD) group, submitted by party leader and former comedian Beppe Grillo, according to an M5S statement.
Some 40,654 party members took part in the voting, it added. The EFDD represents the anti-EU bloc in the European parliament, and Britain's UK Independence Party (UKIP) is one of its major forces.
The same majority in the online poll backed the proposal of joining pro-EU Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE).
Yet, the ALDE group rejected M5S' request to join in, after a vote held later on Monday.
The leader of the Liberal group, Belgian Guy Verhofstadt, explained there were "insufficient common ground" to join forces with Italy's anti-establishment movement.
"There are not enough guarantees to pursue a common agenda (with M5S) aimed at reforming Europe," Ansa news agency quoted Verhofstadt as saying.
The refusal sparked harsh remarks from the M5S. "The establishment has decided to stop the entrance of the M5S in the third largest group of the European parliament," a post written on founder Grillo's blog stated.
"All possible forces moved against us. We have shaken the system like never before," it added.
However, the M5S vowed to continue its activity in order "to create an independent political group for the next European legislature: the Direct Democracy Movement."
Grillo had formed an alliance with UKIP -- and with its leader at the time, Nigel Farage -- in June 2014, after the elections for the European parliament.
In an open letter addressed to Farage, and published on his blog on Sunday, Grillo explained the alliance had now become unnecessary, since UKIP had obtained "the victory in its main battle: the leaving of the European Union by the UK."
The M5S has long called for a referendum on the euro in Italy, because it advocates a withdrawal from the single currency. Yet, it has never put Italy's membership in the EU into question.