The ACT Greens gave up all hope last night of avoiding a near-electoral wipe-out with party leader Meredith Hunter saying she was ''pretty sure'' there would be just one Greens MLA left in the Assembly.
Vote counting in the territory election is expected to be completed today but Ms Hunter said yesterday that is was ''highly unlikely'' that she would be able to make up the gap that Labor's Chris Bourke had opened up in their Ginninderra seat.
Last night's preferences count showed she was 900 votes behind Mr Bourke and Yvette Berry, also representing Labor.
Ms Hunter said yesterday the election might have been lost in the final week of campaigning.
The shattered party, which went into Saturday's election with four members of the Assembly, will meet tomorrow to discuss strategy and how best to use its balance of power status before formal negotiations with the two major parties begin next week.
With just 700 to 1000 votes left to count today, the final results should be known this afternoon, with an Assembly split between eight Liberals, eight Labor members and one Green.
A visibly upset Ms Hunter all but conceded last night that she would be beaten in Ginninderra and join Green colleagues Amanda Bresnan and Caroline Le Couteur in leaving the Assembly. Disconsolate staffers were still packing up Greens' offices in the Legislative Assembly building last night as Ms Hunter said it was too early to evaluate the party's election effort.
But local commentators said yesterday that the third party suffered from a combination of a lacklustre local campaign and a national decline in popularity for the Greens.
Ms Hunter said a ''pretty clear'' trend in the final stages of counting meant she was heading for defeat.
''I think it's highly unlikely at this stage, the trend is pretty clear and it is looking pretty sure that there will only be one Green in this Assembly,'' she said. ''It's too early to start going over the what-ifs and what happened.'' But it was possible that her party had lost a lot of ground in the last week and even the last day of the campaign.
''There was about 10 per cent of people who didn't know how they were going to vote, so how much of being bombarded while going into polling booths with massive great signs made a difference, I don't know,'' she said.
''But I think there was a shift in the last week.''
Ms Hunter said she believed the all-time high of four MLAs in 2008 was the result of several factors, including luck.
''There was protest vote, there were disgruntled people and we picked up those votes,'' she said.
''We also had a series of quirky good luck, in Molonglo to pick up the second seat. There has been a drop-down on the priority list of environmental issues since then and that may well be because we've come out of a 10-year drought.''
The Greens leader said she and her colleagues were proud of the legacy of their years in the Assembly.
''Of course there's disappointment now but it's pretty clear from what's happened in the past four years that we've contributed, we've added value and we've been productive and we've got a proud legacy to leave behind,'' she said.
''The library in Kingston, $50 million more into mental health, hundreds of thousands of kilometres by buses on the road, tens of millions of dollars into housing and renewable energy initiatives and the Older People's Assembly … I'm extremely proud of the work we've done and the legacy we've left.
''We can come back from this, we can rebuild.''
Australian National University political scientist John Warhurst said the Greens failed to impose themselves on the campaign.
''The focus was very much on the two major parties and I don't think the Greens were able to have a clear impact on the campaign,'' Professor Warhurst said. ''I certainly don't think it was a rejection of individual Green MLAs.
''I think the Liberals dominated the campaign with their triple-your-rates exercise and Labor and Greens were bracketed there.''
Local political observer Nicholas Stuart said perceptions of the federal Greens had damaged the local cause.
''Federally, particularly, there has been a perception that the Greens party lodges on the left-wing extreme of the political spectrum,'' Mr Stuart said.
''They're on the left and they're not prepared to compromise to find a workable solution on enough issues.
''The Greens here have been sandwiched because of federal perceptions that have translated across to state issues
''The territory Greens have been completely unable to distinguish themselves as having a separate brand to the federal Greens.''