The Democratic Party, which has dominated Cook Islands politics for the last decade, has lost its grip on power with preliminary results showing the Cook Islands Party has taken 15 of the 24 seats in today's general election.
The Democrats have eight seats, with one tied.
Among the unsuccessful candidates was former prime minister, Sir Terepai Maoate, who stood as an independent.
He had been in parliament for 25 years.
Our correspondent in the Cook Islands is Florence Syme-Buchanan.
"Advanced votes [postal votes] have not been included in tonight's count and could make a difference to some of the results, especially in the smaller outer island constituencies but this may not be enough to give the Democrats the edge they need. No independents or the party Te Kura o Te 'Au gained any seats reflecting the Cook Islands is traditionally a two party political system. The current Prime Minister Jim Marurai has been returned to his seat of Ivirua in the outer island of Mangaia. It is likely elections, which could take weeks to resolve, will be lodged."