Counting has begun in Lebanon after the fourth and final round of the general election.

Voting was staggered by region over the past four weekends in the first elections for three decades without the presence of Syrian troops in the country.

The last seats at stake are in the north of the country.

The election will decide if the anti-Syrian opposition takes control of parliament. 

Saad Hariri, the son of the former prime minister Rafik Hariri whose murder last February was widely blamed on Syria, is leading an anti-Syrian alliance.

Its main rival is the group led by the former General Michel Aoun.

If Hariri's coalition, which swept the polls in Beirut three weeks ago, fails to secure enough seats, it will become just one of three substantial blocs in the assembly.

Mr Aoun's victory in the Christian heartland of Mount Lebanon in last week's round stunned the anti-Syrian movement whose street protests forced Syria to bow to global pressure and pull out of Lebanon.

European Union election monitors are observing the vote and are expected to issue a verdict on Monday.

It is the first time that elections in Lebanon have been monitored by international observers.