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Greece a step closer to early elections as 3rd largest party fails to find coalition partners

  • Outgoing Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras listens to the Archbishop of Albania during their meeting in Athens, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015. Tsipras resigned on Thursday, Aug. 20 following a rebellion in his party over Greece's new bailout, which saw dozens of Syriza lawmakers dissent when the deal came to a vote in Parliament. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

    Outgoing Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras listens to the Archbishop of Albania during their meeting in Athens, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015. Tsipras resigned on Thursday, Aug. 20 following a rebellion in his party over Greece's new bailout, which saw dozens of Syriza lawmakers dissent when the deal came to a vote in Parliament. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)  (The Associated Press)

  • Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, waits the arrival of former Energy Minister and head a party called Popular Unity , Panagiotis Lafazanis, before their meeting in Athens, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Greece came one step closer to early elections Thursday as Lafazanis the head of a new breakaway left-wing party returned his mandate to form a government to the country's president after having failed to find willing coalition partners.(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

    Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, waits the arrival of former Energy Minister and head a party called Popular Unity , Panagiotis Lafazanis, before their meeting in Athens, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Greece came one step closer to early elections Thursday as Lafazanis the head of a new breakaway left-wing party returned his mandate to form a government to the country's president after having failed to find willing coalition partners.(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)  (The Associated Press)

  • Former Energy Minister and head a party called Popular Unity, Panagiotis Lafazanis, left , speaks with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, during their meeting in Athens, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Greece came one step closer to early elections Thursday as Lafazanis the head of a new breakaway left-wing party returned his mandate to form a government to the country's president after having failed to find willing coalition partners.(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

    Former Energy Minister and head a party called Popular Unity, Panagiotis Lafazanis, left , speaks with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, during their meeting in Athens, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Greece came one step closer to early elections Thursday as Lafazanis the head of a new breakaway left-wing party returned his mandate to form a government to the country's president after having failed to find willing coalition partners.(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)  (The Associated Press)

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.