Greece comes one step closer to early elections as the head of a new breakaway left-wing party returns his mandate to form a government to the country's president after having failed to find willing coalition partners.

Former energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, who formed the new Popular Unity party last week after splitting from Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' radical-left Syriza party, was to return the mandate Thursday afternoon. Greece's president will then either convene a meeting of all party leaders in a last-ditch but almost certainly futile bid to form a coalition government, or directly declare a caretaker government and announce the election date.

The polls, which come just eight months after Tsipras won elections, are expected to be held on Sept. 20.