Sweden's Moderates ask for more time to agree coalition after election win

FILE PHOTO: Sweden General Elections in Stockholm

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - The leader of Sweden's Moderate party asked the speaker of parliament on Wednesday for two more weeks to try and form a coalition and thrash out a policy agenda, after his right-wing bloc narrowly won a parliamentary election this month.

The Moderates, Christian Democrats, Sweden Democrats and Liberals won 176 seats against 173 for the centre-left in the Sept. 11 vote, but their loose alliance has to be formalised if Kristersson is to become prime minister.

"Nothing is finalised until everything is finalised," Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson told reporters after meeting the speaker of parliament.

While the right-wing bloc has a clear majority, forming a government is complex.

Kristersson's Moderates have fewer seats than the Sweden Democrats, a populist, anti-immigrant party with roots in the far-right fringe, but Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Akesson cannot secure enough backing to form a government himself.

The Liberals, whose support Kristersson also needs, have ruled out sitting in government with the Sweden Democrats and will not support a coalition that includes them.

The most likely outcome is a coalition of the Moderates and the Christian Democrats with support in parliament from the Liberals and Sweden Democrats, but finding a way to balance the demands of all four parties will be tough.

Kristersson said he would meet the speaker again in a week to give a progress report.

(Reporting by Simon Johnson; Editing by Gareth Jones)