The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) won the elections in the west German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, according to projections released on Sunday evening by German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF.
However, the previous ruling CDU/FDP (Free Democrats) coalition no longer has a majority.
Based on the latest figures, the FDP and far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) have to worry about re-entering the state parliament in Dusseldorf.
As in the past legislative term, the radical leftist party The Left will not be represented in the state parliament.
According to the numbers from ARD and ZDF, the CDU reached 35%, followed by the Social Democratic Party (SPD) with 27.5-28%.
The pro-environment Greens came in third with 18-18.5%.
The FDP, which previously formed the state government together with the CDU, hovers at 5-5.5%.
The AfD ended up at 5.5-6%, while The Left is well below the 5% hurdle.
It is unclear who will govern the country's most populous federal state in the future. According to the early figures, several coalitions are possible.
The vote was widely regarded as an early test for Chancellor Olaf Scholz's Social Democrats five months after he took office with a domestic policy focus that was very soon overshadowed by the Russian war in Ukraine.
The SPD had dominated North Rhine-Westphalia state politics for many decades.