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.