FORMER Moray Council leader George Alexander has said he "fears for the people of Moray" if an ever smaller minority administration takes control.
Cllr Alexander said the main political parties on the council had been unable to "bury the hatchett and get round a table to talk".
He claimed that party politics is strangling the council.
That followed the collapse of the Independent-Conservative coalition when seven of the eight Tory members quit the administration last month.
Cllr Alexander said a rainbow coalition of 18 councillors had seemed likely following discussions last week.
However, the SNP look set to form a minority administration of nine members at a special meeting of the council on Wednesday.
He said the SNP continued to take part in discussions with the convener James Allan about how the one remaining Conservative member of the administration might be part of a coalition.
"I am aware that there are SNP councillors who do not want to form a minority administration and there are members of the group of seven conservative councillors who did not want to walk out of the present administration.
"Tragically both groups are under pressure from their political masters to "act more as a group". What ever happened to independent thinkers?
"As things stand at the moment we are probably heading toward a minority administration and having operated over most of the past year with an administration of effectively 12, I must say that I fear for the people of Moray with the prospect of an even smaller minority administration.
"Party politics is strangling Moray Council and well-meaning, public spirited councillors are being prevented from making alliances which would best suit the people of Moray because of influences out with the Moray Council.
"This is an absolute tragedy and I am totally disgusted that the Moray Council is being manipulated by those who believe national politics is more important than providing good governance for the people of Moray."