The deputy leader of Tonga's Friendly Islands Democratic Party, Dr Sitiveni Halapua, says they felt they had made their case and were surprised not to win the prime ministership.
The party's leader, 'Akilisi Pohiva, lost to Noble Tu'ivakano who won after the nobles formed an alliance with the five independent people's representatives.
He says they felt they had won the people over with the party winning nine of the ten seats on Tongatapu where 70 percent of the population live and where most economic activity is centred.
"But it only takes some independent members, especially from Vava'u E'ua and Niua, to go to the nobles' side. Probably they felt they would get a better deal from them. So I don't think it has got to do with the party, it's to do with what the individual independent members want for themselves."