It could take up to a week before a new government forms in the Cook Islands after voters went to the polls last week.
Preliminary results show no party has yet secured a clear majority in the 24-seat parliament.
RNZ Pacific correspondent in the Cook Islands Florence Syme-Buchanan said neither of the two major parties had reached the 13 seats needed.
"Absolutely not the result that the Cook Islands Party, that was the government of the Cook Islands, wanted because they have won 10 seats to the Democratic Party winning eleven seats.
"And with the seats being so close things are pretty much in the air at the moment until we have the final count in."
The balance of power is with two independents and the One Cook Islands party which attained one seat.
Incumbent prime minister Henry Puna has retained his seat, but three ministers are out including the deputy prime minister Teariki Heather who lost his seat to newcomer Nooroa o Teariki Baker.