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Swedish Social Democratic leader gets more time to form a government

FILE PHOTO: Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven arrives at a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium October 17, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven will be given at least two more days to try to form a new government as Sweden tries to resolve a post-election gridlock, parliament said in a statement on Sunday.

Speaker Andreas Norlen had previously said he planned to propose Lofven as prime minister on Dec. 3, but on Sunday he said that would take place at the earliest on Dec. 5.

A vote in parliament will take place a few days after that, but a parliament spokeswoman said she could not be more specific on when.

Sweden’s general election in early September gave neither the centre-left or the centre-right a majority, leaving the balance of power with the Sweden Democrats, a hard-right, anti-immigration party that mainstream parties refuse to deal with.

Lofven, who until the September election had been prime minister since 2014, has already been voted out by parliament and it is uncertain if he has enough support to pass the vote.

However, Lofven’s chances of remaining prime minister have improved as the Centre Party and the Liberals said last week they were willing to support him if he could accept some political demands, including lower taxes, less restrictive labour laws and excluding the Left Party from any influence over their policy.

The Left Party, a partner of the Social Democrats on the budget, has said they would not accept that. Also, Lofven’s government coalition partner, the Greens, said they would vote against such an administration as their tradition is to vote no to every government they are not part of.

Reporting by Olof Swahnberg; Editing by Susan Fenton