"At a time of crisis you build on the common agreement, you don't magnify the differences"
Offering cabinet seats to senior Lib Dems is a price worth paying for the formation of a stable government, ex-prime minister Sir John Major has said.
The Tories had to recognise they had no majority and should work to create an administration which could manage the economic crisis, he told the BBC.
Conservative leader David Cameron has offered the Lib Dems a "big, open and comprehensive offer" to work together.
But Labour's Gordon Brown remains prime minister under a hung parliament.
The Tories have 305 seats, which is 21 short of the total needed to secure a majority, while Labour are on 258 and the Liberals have 57.
One more constituency is to declare on Friday while the other -
Thirsk and Malton
- has been delayed until 27 May, owing to the death of the UKIP candidate, John Boakes.
Mr Brown had suffered "a very comprehensive setback", Sir John said.
His decision to stay in Downing Street and not to resign as prime minister was "beginning to look a little undignified", he added.
But he conceded the Conservatives had not won the election outright and therefore "cannot have a programme entirely of our own choosing".
"It is right to see some sort of accommodation with the Liberals and I'm entirely happy with that," Sir John told BBC News.
"The important thing is to tackle the problems we have in the economy - they are very serious."
He said he would be "prepared to bear" this if it were the "price" to pay for stabilising the UK's financial situation.
And Sir John said Mr Cameron should tell Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg: "We have a national crisis. You can help to solve that national crisis."
Mr Clegg had been "wise and statesmanlike" on Friday when he said
it was for the Tories to be first to prove
they were "capable of seeking to govern", Sir John added.
And he hoped Mr Clegg would "accept and discuss with David Cameron the offer that has been made".
The BBC's political editor, Nick Robinson, said he thought it was "very unlikely" that the Lib Dems would want to enter a coalition, however.
It would be difficult for many Lib Dem activists, he added, as some would fear they would get the blame for any difficult decisions made by the government in the future.