Belgium is set to have its first French-speaking prime minister in three decades after all parties finally agreed a blue print for a ruling coalition.
After 535 days without a government, Socialist Elio Di Rupo’s cabinet is preparing to be made official at the weekend.
Details of the 185-page agreement are expected to be approved today.
Belgium’s world-record political deadlock had raised fears the country was headed for a split, separating wealthier, Dutch-speaking Flanders from the French speaking Wallonia in the south.
The June 2010 elections were won by Bart de Wever’s Flemish Nationalists but after blocking so many initiatives to form a coalition he was eventually excluded from the negotiating table.
His pro-independence N-VA will not now be part of the new government.
With Belgium facing its own debt crisis including a credit downgrade, politicians agreed a hasty austerity budget last weekend, removing the last obstacle for a government deal.