Vetevendosje forecast to win 41.8 percent of the votes while the governing LDK party projected to finish third.
Kosovo’s anti-establishment party Vetevendosje is forecast to win Sunday’s parliamentary polls, according to an exit poll, a result which could further complicate efforts to resolve decades-long territorial disputes.
The Pipos-Kosova Klan television exit poll showed Vetevendosje was forecast to win 41.8 percent, while another opposition party Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) is forecast to come second with 16.5 percent of the votes.
The governing Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) is forecast to come third with 15.2 percent of the votes. The Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), seen as a potential kingmaker by analysts, is forecast to win 7.2 percent.
Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti, who served as prime minister for five months last year, has won support on pledges to fight widespread corruption and on a stance that there should be no compromise in a dialogue with Serbia, which lost control over Kosovo in 1999 after NATO bombed its forces.
“Kosovo as an independent state, this Sunday, is returning to its people as the source of sovereignty,” Kurti told reporters after casting his vote.
According to exit polls, Vetevendosje is unlikely to secure a majority of 61 seats in parliament and will have to find a coalition partner to form a government.
“There are a lot of challenges ahead of us, we have the issue with Serbia, the pandemic situation and strengthening the state,” Ramush Haradinaj, whose AAK is seen as a potential kingmaker, said after casting his ballot.
Serbia, backed by Russia, does not recognise Kosovo’s independence, citing the need to protect the rights of its Serb minority.
Negotiators from the European Union and the United States have failed to secure a compromise to allow Kosovo to join international bodies such as the United Nations and NATO.
With one-third of its workforce unemployed and a gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of $4,300, Kosovo remains the poorest country in the Western Balkan region.
“People want jobs, we want to get rid of corruption,” said Luljeta Emini after she cast her ballot in Pristina.