Bulgaria's ex-PM Borissov seeks path to coalition in fractured parliament

SOFIA, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Bulgaria's former prime minister Boyko Borissov said on Tuesday his centre-right GERB party would seek talks with political rivals to try to form a government after an election win that offered no clear path to a coalition.

GERB won the Oct. 2 election with 25.3% of the vote, but it faces a hung parliament, raising the risk of another snap poll as the Black Sea country seeks to contain the impact of Europe's energy crisis and surging inflation amid war in Ukraine.

His main rivals - reformist, anti-graft parties We Continue the Change and Democratic Bulgaria as well as the Socialists - have all ruled out coalition talks with GERB, which they blame for allowing corruption to fester during its decade-long rule that ended in 2021.

Acknowledging the challenge, Borissov, 63, said he would be willing not to become prime minister or even a minister if that was what was needed to have a functioning coalition.

A new snap poll - following four already in the last two years - would not produce different results, said Borissov, who served as premier for more than a decade before losing an election last year following massive anti-graft protests.

"I urge everybody to reflect and try to see how things will look after two or three months. I am ready for all kinds of compromises and concessions in the name of the people," Borissov said in his first public comment after Sunday's election.

Seven parties will be represented in the new parliament, with former prime minister Kiril Petkov's We Continue the Change party the second biggest after GERB with 20.2%.

Analysts remain sceptical about Borissov's chances of building a coalition government.

"GERB remains in political isolation. The prospects for such a government are not great. And after his rivals shunned him, early polls look much more likely," said Dobromir Zhivkov, a political analyst with independent pollster Market Links.

Borissov said he believed the parties could find common ground over the war in Ukraine.

Bulgaria, a member of NATO and the European Union, has had historically close ties with Moscow but they have steadily deteriorated, especially following Russia's Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. It became the first EU member, along with Poland, a hawk on Russia, to see its gas supplies cut by Russia's Gazprom.
Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Writing by Jason Hovet; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Gareth Jones

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