Belgium is on the verge of what is hoped will be a new era of stable government after six parties finalised a coalition agreement.
The man set to be prime minister, francophone Elio de Rupo, visited King Albert II to update him on the latest developments on Thursday evening.
But it seemed the deal just needed a final proof-reading by those involved in the negotiations.
One of them, Christian Democrat Benoit Lutgen, said: “We will check whether all our work has been correctly put to paper. The experts have been working all afternoon and we will check if there still remain some question marks, but that not should raise any problems.”
Alexander De Croo of the liberal VLD party said:
“We were able to adjust the government agreement but we were not the only party to do so. Some win the elections but others win at the negotiating table.”
The outcome brings to an end 535 days of record-setting talks. Belgium’s Flemish and French-speaking parties had been bickering over a range of issues, not least linguistic differences.
It is hoped it will also calm markets worried by the country’s political paralysis. But analysts caution that the deal will not make Belgium’s deep-seated internal tensions disappear overnight.