The battle for control of Moray Council remains at a stalemate, with its Conservative and SNP groups continuing partnership talks with Independent members.
The new leader of the authority’s eight Tory councillors, James Allan, said that forming a ruling administration would be his top priority as he settles into the role.
Co-leader of the SNP group, Shona Morrison, said the nationalists would also continue negotiating with unaligned councillors in an effort to form a coalition and assume the reins of power.
The first meeting of the full council will take place next Wednesday, and discussions could continue into early next week.
Eight Conservative councillors were elected on Friday, an increase from the three that previously sat on Moray Council.
The SNP’s share of elected members fell from 11 to nine, though it remains the largest group.
Eight Independents were also elected but Sandy Cooper, Derek Ross and Ryan Edwards have all ruled out joining any group.
Mr Allan said he retained close links with the five returning non-aligned members he served with on the previous Tory-Independent administration.
He added: “We worked well together before, and I am speaking with all five about joining up again.”
Councillor Morrison, who represents Fochabers Lhanbryde, said she would “make herself available” for discussion with any Independents.
She said: “In the past there has been a higher SNP presence on the council so we are open to forming some sort of coalition and will keep having talks with that target in mind.”
The SNP has approached sole Labour councillor John Divers about joining forces.
Mr Divers said he would entertain talks with both groups.