Swedish center-right leader gets more time to form coalition

STOCKHOLM (AP) — The leader of Sweden’s third largest party — the center-right Moderates — said Wednesday he has not yet been able to reach a deal in his talks to form a coalition with like-minded parties and was granted a two-day extension to broker an agreement.

“We are moving toward the formation of a government in the coming days. There are some details we want to clear up,” Moderates leader Ulf Kristersson said after two weeks of talks with the other center-right parties.

It was not clear which parties would be part of the center-right governing coalition and he declined to elaborate on what details need to be dealt with.

On Facebook, Kristersson said “negotiations have gone according to plan. We’re pretty much done and I asked for a few more days to do the final touches.”

He met Wednesday with Andreas Norlen, the speaker of the 349-seat Swedish parliament, to report on his progress. Later, Norlen said he had agreed to give an extension until Friday.

In Sweden’s Sept. 11 election, the country’s four center-right parties won 176 seats while the center-left coalition that included the ruling Social Democrats got 173 seats. Following that, Norlen asked Kristersson to see if he can form a governing coalition. In the past two weeks, he has held talks with the populist Sweden Democrats, the Liberals and Christian Democrats.

The Liberals do not want to be in a coalition with the right-wing Sweden Democrats, a party founded in the 1980s by far-right extremists that now is the country’s second-largest group in parliament. In recent weeks, the populist party, which wants to crack down on crime and strictly limit immigration, has tried to move toward the mainstream.

A vote in parliament on a new Swedish prime minister is likely set for Monday.

Days after the election, Social Democratic Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, who heads Sweden’s largest party, acknowledged losing the election. She continues in a caretaker capacity until a new government is formed.

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