World

Greece: Opposition party head returns mandate to form gov't, country 1 step closer to election

  • Former Energy Minister and head a party called Popular Unity , Panagiotis Lafazanis, left , is welcomed by Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, in Athens, Monday Aug. 24, 2015. Lafazanis, who heads the newly-formed Popular Unity, received the maximum three-day mandate from the country’s president after the head of the main opposition conservative New Democracy failed to form a government. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

    Former Energy Minister and head a party called Popular Unity , Panagiotis Lafazanis, left , is welcomed by Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, in Athens, Monday Aug. 24, 2015. Lafazanis, who heads the newly-formed Popular Unity, received the maximum three-day mandate from the country’s president after the head of the main opposition conservative New Democracy failed to form a government. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)  (The Associated Press)

  • Former Energy Minister and head a party called Popular Unity, Panagiotis Lafazanis, left , chats  with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, in Athens, Monday Aug. 24, 2015. Lafazanis, who heads the newly-formed Popular Unity, received the maximum three-day mandate from the country’s president after the head of the main opposition conservative New Democracy failed to form a government.  (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

    Former Energy Minister and head a party called Popular Unity, Panagiotis Lafazanis, left , chats with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, in Athens, Monday Aug. 24, 2015. Lafazanis, who heads the newly-formed Popular Unity, received the maximum three-day mandate from the country’s president after the head of the main opposition conservative New Democracy failed to form a government. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)  (The Associated Press)

  • Greek presidential guards perform during the changing of the guards ceremony at the tomb of the unknown soldier in central Athens, on Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015. Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigned late Thursday and called an early election next month to deal with a rebellion in his radical left Syriza party over the terms of Greece's new bailout deal.  (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

    Greek presidential guards perform during the changing of the guards ceremony at the tomb of the unknown soldier in central Athens, on Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015. Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigned late Thursday and called an early election next month to deal with a rebellion in his radical left Syriza party over the terms of Greece's new bailout deal. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)  (The Associated Press)

The head of Greece's main opposition party is meeting the country's president to return his mandate to form a government after failing to find coalition partners following the prime minister's resignation and call for early elections.

Evangelos Meimarakis, head of the conservative New Democracy party, returned the mandate Monday after the three-day limit. It now passes to the third-largest party in Parliament, a new group formed by hardliners who split from the governing radical left Syriza party last week. Neither party was expected to be able to form a government, and early elections are most likely to be held on Sept. 20.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigned on Thursday, just seven months into his four-year mandate, following a rebellion in his party over Greece's new bailout.