The main opposition party in Kosovo has marked a landslide victory in an early parliamentary election held Sunday.
With almost all the votes counted, Vetevendosje (Self-Determination Movement) won 48% of the vote, while the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) and the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) were a distant second and third with roughly 18% and 14%, respectively.
Vetevendosje nearly doubled the number of votes it garnered in the 2019 election, but still below the 61% threshold to govern alone.
Speaking to supporters and the media Sunday night with acting President Vjosa Osmani by his side, former Prime Minister Albin Kurti hailed the vote as a "great victory" for his party.
"This referendum for justice and employment, and against the corruption, has been won. It is something unseen after war Kosovo," Kurti said, adding that “the victory is ours. It is yours."
Kurti said the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue desired by the West is not going to be a high priority for his government.
“It will not be a priority for us to form a team for the dialogue with Serbia. You know that in all public surveys, the dialogue with Serbia is the sixth or seventh issue. We have been voted by those citizens, and we respond to them. The main priority is justice and creating jobs,” Kurti said.
Kosovo’s relations with Serbia, which it broke away from in 2008, remain fraught more than two decades after a war between separatist ethnic Albanian rebels and Serb forces.
The U.S. Embassy in Pristina congratulated the people of Kosovo in a Facebook message.
“Encouraging to see so many citizens turn out to peacefully vote today, despite the weather & pandemic. Now it's important to give the @KQZKosova and other #Kosovo institutions time & space to count the votes and do their jobs. #KosovoVotes2021.”
RFE/RL contributed to this report.