The leaders of New Brunswick's four main political parties were continuing to negotiate into the night Thursday on a proposal to avoid an early provincial election until October 2022.
They and their teams were cloistered on the top floor of the government's Chancery Place building haggling for the second day over how such a deal might work.
The teams resumed talking at 7 p.m. after a dinner break and an agreement not to speak about the discussions until they wrapped up for the night.
Even so, People's Alliance leader Kris Austin said in an impromptu sidewalk interview that the tone remained positive.
"We're going to get into the meat of it this evening," he said.
"I think we're pretty much on the same wavelength in terms of what could happen. If we come out of this with something, it's going to be historic, no question. The question's can we come out of this with something?"
Higgs sent a letter to the three opposition parties Monday asking them to to agree to avoid forcing an early election until the scheduled date in October 2022 or until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
Higgs has been hinting for weeks that he would trigger a campaign, justifying the threat by saying the province needs stability to manage the pandemic and continue restarting the economy.
The agreement would include a promise by the other parties to not defeat the Progressive Conservative minority government on confidence and supply votes such as the budget and trigger a campaign.
In return, Higgs, whose approval ratings in polls have been at record highs, would also not call an election until 2022.
The premier says he wants a deal by the scheduled end of the talks on Friday because the coming weeks are the best "window" for an election if one has to happen, because the province is in a relative lull with COVID-19 ahead of a possible second wave.
Besides Higgs and Austin, Liberal leader Kevin Vickers and Green leader David Coon are in the negotiations.