Bulgarian ex-prime minister Borissov offers a coalition. But he doesn't want his old job back

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, whose center-right GERB party garnered the most votes in Bulgaria’s parliamentary election, invited his political opponents Thursday to hold talks about forming a new government.

Speaking to reporters at his party’s headquarters, Borissov stated that he doesn't want to be prime minister, but cautioned that there will be a government only if the prime minister is named by his party. Borissov proposed the formation of an expert Cabinet, but insisted that the ministries of foreign affairs and defense should also be taken by GERB.

Borissov said that if these conditions aren't met and the other parties are thinking of revenge and avoid dialogue, Bulgaria will head to another election in September.

Results from Sunday’s election showed GERB with 24.7% of the vote, edging out the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms, which surprisingly came in second with 17.1%, ahead of the pro-Western reformist bloc led by the We Continue the Change party with 14.3%. Four other parties also gained seats in the 240-seat chamber, according to official results.

Borissov led three governments between 2009 and early 2021, when his third Cabinet resigned amid major anti-corruption protests.

The reformist We Continue the Change party-led coalition, which was created a couple of years ago with the clear aim of opposing and defeating Borissov’s corruption-tainted government, announced on Thursday that it wouldn't support a Cabinet with the participation of GERB.

After running neck and neck in last July’s election, the two rival groups sought to break the political stalemate by forming an uneasy governing coalition, but it survived only nine months. In heated campaigning for the latest election, both parties leveled charges of corruption against the other, and analysts saw little chance of the two trying to work together again.

On Thursday, the leader of the reformist group, Kiril Petkov, rejected Borissov’s proposal saying that they will be a “firm opposition.”

The Associated Press