A political scientist says the Democratic Party in Tonga may have confused the electorate, resulting in it doing relatively poorly in last Thursday's poll.
The party, led by long time democracy campaigner Akilisi Pohiva, won eight of the 17 popularly elected seats.
It had hoped for a majority to ensure that it could form the government but the director of Pasifika at Massey University, Dr Malakai Koloamatangi, says the party appeared to lack unity after jettisoning some of its MPs from 2010.
"A lot of people, particularly outside Nuku'alofa, would have been, I think, confused by the conflicting messages that were coming from Pohiva and also of course from the incumbents that he had campaigned with in 2010 but obviously disscarded for this campaign."
Attempts to forge coalitions to make up the new government are continuing.