Bulgarian President Rumen Radev on Monday set Oct. 2 as the date for the country's fourth parliamentary election in less than two years, after the collapse in June of reformist Prime Minister Kiril Petkov's coalition government.

Radev also appointed former labour minister Galab Donev to lead a caretaker government as the European Union country faces surging inflation, gas supply doubts and other impacts from the war in Ukraine. The cabinet will serve from Aug. 2 until a new government is formed after the snap polls.

The caretaker cabinet is largely expected to take a softer line towards Moscow, which could include efforts to renew Russian gas imports. It may also try to mend ties with Moscow after Petkov's government expelled 70 Russian diplomatic staff over espionage concerns. (Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova, Editing by Michael Kahn and Hugh Lawson)