As a keen political observer, here is my take on potential scenarios towards the final composition of PM and Cabinet ministers.
Right now the political landscape is bit like shifting sands in a sand dune, but the Demos seem to have the edge over the CIP.
At 11 seats, the most pragmatic approach would be to embrace all three kingmakers: George Maggie of One Cook Islands and independents Rose Brown and Robert Tapaitu - and not leave anyone out.
If the selection of Cabinet ministers were made along geopolitical lines, the scenario could go something like this:
Given the shock loss of veterans Aunty Mau in Nikao and James Beer in Murienua, my top picks on the island of Rarotonga are Smiley Heather as a seasoned MP and former Cabinet minister; businessman Tamaiva Tuavera (“Captain Tama”), who has won a second term; and former National Environment Service director, Vaitoti Tupa. George Maggie may want to be included as a minister - if so, Internal Affairs would be a good choice given his penchant for helping his constituents on a day-to-day basis.
On the island of Aitutaki, the logical choice would surely be Junior Maoate who has had previous political experience as the understudy to his late father, Sir Terepai Maoate in the health and finance portfolios.
On Atiu, independent MP Rose Brown has secured a second term and is certain to be offered a position, but whether she would demand the top job as the price of her support is in the lap of the gods.
Then there is the Pae Tokerau island of Penrhyn where newcomer, Robert Tapaitu has swept aside both major party contenders to take the seat. Given that he has promised to make his island's voice heard, it is a very big hint that his people would require a Cabinet post to secure their support to form government.
The northern group deserves at least one seat at the Roundtable of Camelot. Although special votes and postal votes are yet to be counted, the numbers don't look good for Tina Pupuke Browne on the island of Rakahanga. Sadly, it seems that for this term at least, Tina is out of contention to represent the north and lead the country.
On Mangaia, all three seats are Demo and normally one would expect the island to hold at least one Cabinet post.
The thing is that these are special circumstances: the Demos do not have an outright majority and absolutely must offer positions to all three kingmakers if they are serious about forming government - let alone one that is stable.