The opposition leftist Vetevendosje (Self- determination) party looked set to come first in Kosovo’s parliamentary poll, but it will have to negotiate a coalition to form a government.
Preliminary results showed it had won 26% of votes with 82% of ballots counted, while another opposition party — the centre-right Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) — won 25% of votes.
Supporters celebrated in Pristina on Sunday evening.
The early election happened after Prime Minister Ramush Harra-din-aj resigned ahead of questioning in the Hague by an investigation into war crimes in Serbia two decades ago.
The Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) was third with 21% while a list headed by the outgoing prime minister, Ramush Haradinaj, got 11.5% of votes.
It signals a new era for politics in the Balkan nation, whose leadership was previously dominated by figureheads from the country’s late-1990s ethnic conflict and war of independence.