The election results of 17 April 1977 were strikingly favourable for the Christian Democrats. The most signifcant eye-opener was the number of frst-preference votes won by Prime Minister Tindemans. He wished to bring together a broad majority to push through constitutional reform. He tried from the outset, therefore, to form a three-party coalition government with the Christian Democrats, the Socialists and the Liberals. The formateur, the person appointed by the king to negotiate a new government, was faced with no easy task, however. The Socialists were quick to announce that they would refuse to form a government with the Liberals.
Instead of the Liberals, the so-called language parties — the Flemish Volk-sunie and the Brussels Front des Francophones — were invited to take part in the negotiations. We took the risk of opening up discussions with these new partners. The Egmont Palace was closed to the media and we all sat around the table together, all of us fred up by the desire to hammer out a defnitive solution in the form of a community pact.