Several potential challengers have emerged in the fight for the Victorian Liberal leadership but the result may not be known for days or even weeks.
Sitting MPs Brad Battin, Ryan Smith and Richard Riordan have put their hands up and former shadow attorney-general John Pesutto will launch a bid if he beats teal independent Melissa Lowe to reclaim his seat of Hawthorn.
As of 4pm Monday, Mr Pesutto leads the count by about 500 votes, with more than 70 per cent of ballots counted.
Mr Pesutto said he has indicated to various partyroom members that he intends to put his hand up for the leadership if he holds on.
"Early discussions have proved to be very positive and receptive to that concept," he told AAP on Monday.
"Obviously we're subject to that contingency that I do need to win the seat. At the moment it looks positive but it's still too close to call.
"Because of the nature of these things you can't really wait until you have that result."
Mr Pesutto said the party needed to go back to the drawing board to appeal to more regional and younger voters and demonstrate it was an inclusive party.
"We've lost six of the last seven elections. That is simply not good enough in anyone's book," he said.
"We have to rebuild the organisation so that we can start running campaigns ... over a number of years to build the membership that gives us the network across our state to engage fully with communities."
A Liberal source with knowledge of early backroom discussions believes it is shaping as a two-horse race between Mr Pesutto and Mr Battin.
They said Mr Pesutto's less aggressive style could be more effective when facing Premier Daniel Andrews in parliament, but still views Mr Battin as a viable second option if Mr Pesutto doesn't hang on in Hawthorn.
There are reports upper house representative Matt Bach is mulling over a tilt but would need to move to the lower house to be eligible.
Mr Smith told the Herald Sun if successful he would focus on regaining support in suburban electorates rather than marginal inner-city seats.
Outgoing leader Matthew Guy confirmed he would call the parliamentary partyroom together to elect a new leader once a clearer picture of successful candidates emerges, following his second electoral defeat.
Liberal candidates remain locked in close tussles in Bass, Hastings, Pakenham, Hawthorn and Mornington.
As things stand, the coalition is projected to win at least 25 seats and may limp to or just past its starting figure of 27, largely courtesy of the Nationals picking up three regional seats.
Labor is on track to win more than 52 of the 88 seats in the lower house, despite a plunge in its primary vote and double-digit swings against it in Melbourne's north and west.
Upper house results are likely to become known in the next few days.
Parliament is set to sit before Christmas.
At a Suburban Rail Loop early works site on Monday, Deputy Premier Jacinta Allan said the government was "ready to power on" and continue with its big build agenda.
Australian Associated Press
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