A majority of 15 MPs in Tonga, centred on the grouping of nine nobles, has placed its nomination for prime minister with the interim speaker, Lord Tupou.
The Matangi Tonga website reports a people's representative, Samiu Vaipulu from Vava'u, as saying the MPs don't want to reveal their choice until the nominations for prime minister are opened on Friday week.
As well as the nobles bloc, the 15 include the five MPs not linked to the Friendly Islands Democratic Party and one who has withdrawn his support from that group.
Mr Vaipulu also told the website they are confident two other MPs from the Democrats will switch allegiance before the House is reconvened to elect the prime minister by secret ballot.
Lord Tupou has invited the 26 representatives to make their nominations for prime minister before December the 16th.
It is expected that he will open the envelopes on December the 17th, with the House to meet within two days of that event.