While two conservative Muslim parties dominated the first round of Egypt's parliamentary election, all secular and liberal parties combined won only about 30 per cent of the available seats.
Some parties and candidates shut down their campaigns after a security crackdown in Tahrir Square in late November left dozens dead, which activists say may have benefited the Islamists who continued their work.
The low showing might have been expected in a religiously conservative society, but it has alarmed Egypt's Coptic Christians - who make up about 10 per cent of the population - and has stirred liberals into action.
Now, the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafi Nour Party are set to square off in three Nile Delta governorates where both are strong, while the liberal Egyptian Bloc and Revolution Continues Alliance play catch up throughout the nine governorates at stake.
Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros reports from Giza.