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Voting begins in Egypt's first parliamentary election since overthrow of Islamist leader

  • An Egyptian walks in front of posters of a parliamentary candidate in Giza, just outside of Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Oct. 16, 2015. Egypt's long-awaited parliamentary elections will start on Oct. 18-19, a hoped-for step toward democracy amid a harsh crackdown on dissent. The second stage of the staggered vote will take place on Nov. 22-23. Final results will be announced in early December. Arabic reads, "Ahmed Fekry." (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

    An Egyptian walks in front of posters of a parliamentary candidate in Giza, just outside of Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Oct. 16, 2015. Egypt's long-awaited parliamentary elections will start on Oct. 18-19, a hoped-for step toward democracy amid a harsh crackdown on dissent. The second stage of the staggered vote will take place on Nov. 22-23. Final results will be announced in early December. Arabic reads, "Ahmed Fekry." (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)  (The Associated Press)

  • An Egyptian walks in front of a polling station of the parliamentary candidate in Giza, just outside of Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Oct. 16, 2015. Egypt's long-awaited parliamentary elections will start on Oct. 18-19, a hoped-for step toward democracy amid a harsh crackdown on dissent. The second stage of the staggered vote will take place on Nov. 22-23. Final results will be announced in early December. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

    An Egyptian walks in front of a polling station of the parliamentary candidate in Giza, just outside of Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Oct. 16, 2015. Egypt's long-awaited parliamentary elections will start on Oct. 18-19, a hoped-for step toward democracy amid a harsh crackdown on dissent. The second stage of the staggered vote will take place on Nov. 22-23. Final results will be announced in early December. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)  (The Associated Press)

  • Egyptian soldiers carry boxes of ballots at the Giza courthouse in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Oct. 16, 2015 .Egypt's long-awaited parliamentary elections will start on Oct. 18-19, a hoped-for step toward democracy amid a harsh crackdown on dissent. The second stage of the staggered vote will take place on Nov. 22-23. Final results will be announced in early December. Arabic reads, "parliamentary elections 2015." (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

    Egyptian soldiers carry boxes of ballots at the Giza courthouse in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Oct. 16, 2015 .Egypt's long-awaited parliamentary elections will start on Oct. 18-19, a hoped-for step toward democracy amid a harsh crackdown on dissent. The second stage of the staggered vote will take place on Nov. 22-23. Final results will be announced in early December. Arabic reads, "parliamentary elections 2015." (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)  (The Associated Press)

Egyptians residing abroad have begun casting votes in the country's first parliamentary election since the 2013 military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

Egypt's state-run news wire says embassies and consulates in 139 countries will be open for two days of voting.

The vote is staggered, with polling in half of Egypt's governorates set to start Sunday. The election will take place in two phases, concluding in early December.

Few candidates have broad recognition or clear platforms, and most have a pro-government bent.

The vote will mark the final step in what has been billed as a transition to democracy. But critics say the next legislature is likely to be a rubber-stamp body that further solidifies the power of President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, a former general who led Morsi's overthrow.