ISTANBUL (AP) — A day before Sunday's parliamentary elections, Turkey's prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu urged Turks to vote in stability by restoring his ruling party's majority. Opposition parties were campaigning against a man not on the ballot: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Sunday's contest is a rerun of a June election in which the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, lost its majority after 13 years of single-party rule.
Erdogan called for new elections after Davutoglu failed to form a coalition with any of the three opposition parties represented in parliament.
"The AKP represents stability," Davutoglu said at a rally in Ankara Saturday. "The AKP is Turkey's only hope."
But in a tense campaign, opposition parties argue that restoring AKP's majority would allow Erdogan to consolidate his tight grip over the country by ruling through his party in parliament.
At a rally in Istanbul by the largest opposition party, CHP, party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said that Erdogan decides AKP's every move and is moving the country away from democracy.
"If one person is trying to get every word that comes out of his lips accepted as law then this leads to conflict in society," he said.
The leader of the nationalist MHP party meanwhile was repeating his conditions for a post-election coalition with AKP, which is expect to win a plurality of the vote.
In the southern city of Adana, MHP leader Devlet Bahceli said it would only join AKP if the new government allowed corruption investigations of people close to Erdogan to go through and if it would end a peace process with Kurdish militants, among other conditions. The election comes amid a breakdown in the once hopeful peace process and a major spike in political violence in the country.