>> Voters queued at polling stations across Lebanon on Sunday for the country's first general election in nine years, and it's an economically important one. The tiny Mediterranean country has one of the world's highest debt-to-GDP ratios. And the International Monetary Fund has warned that its fiscal trajectory is unsustainable.
The smooth formation of a new government may convince investors of economic stability. Under election rules, voters are registered in the area their ancestors come from, and that's seen people travelling across the country in order to take part.>> I travelled from Beirut and left home at 5:30 AM to come and vote.
We've been waiting for the election for nine years.>> Since the last election, Syria's civil war and the influx of more than a million refugees have aggravated internal political rifts. And that's partly the reason why new elections have been delayed, as rival blocs fail to agree on a move to a proportional voting system.
That new system has confused some voters and made the contest unpredictable in some previously safe seats. But analysts say this election is still unlikely to upset Lebanon's overall balance of power or undermine the long entrenched political elite. The group that includes local dynasties and former warlords. Analysts are also watching the performance of Sunni Muslim Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri's Future Movement party, and the Iran-backed Hezbollah.
That's because Lebanon had periodically been an arena for intense competition between Riyadh and Tehran. Though, in recent years, Saudi Arabia has pulled back from it's support for al-Hariri's party. Unofficial results were expected to start coming in overnight on Sunday.