Alex Salmond has launched the SNP’s local election campaign in Dundee.
The First Minister hopes the Nationalists will be able to hold onto control of Scotland’s fourth city, which it won from Labour in 2009.
The SNP is eager that the city serve as a template for local authorities across Scotland, showing the party can win and retain councils in former Labour heartlands.
Council leader and head of the SNP group Ken Guild told STV News: “We inherited a council which I think was lacking self-belief, was lacking ambition and we certainly have the self-belief, we have the ambition, and we're prepared to work to make this happen. We are moving Dundee forward.”
Labour is keen to retake the council to show that Labour voters who have switched to the SNP can be won back.
Group leader Kevin Keenan said: “We're certainly putting forward a vision for the city and obviously looking for the people to support that. Very much a vision for people, for jobs, education, which we believe clearly matter.”
The Liberal Democrats do not expect to win control and instead are hoping to reach a power-sharing agreement with other parties.
Fraser Macpherson, Lib Dem group leader, explained: “I have in the past, in co-operation with other parties in the council, worked in partnership and I think that's the best way forward for Dundee. So less of the Punch and Judy of local politics and more of the cooperation for the good of the people.”
The Conservatives are also hoping to play a role in a coalition.
Rod Wallace, who heads the Tory contingent of councillors, added: “We are recognised as being very old-fashioned in our ways of being councillors, looking at local issues and seeing to the needs of local people and that's what I see as my main strengths and my colleagues share that view as well.”
Come election night, Dundee will be one of the most closely watched contests for those trying to gauge the extent of the SNP’s success across Scotland.
More About Local elections 2012
- Scotland’s councillors get back to work as the dust settles on elections
- New coalition in Edinburgh sets out promises for next five years
- SNP fury as Labour and Tories strike coalition deal to run Stirling Council
- Voters go to the polls a week late to elect final three councillors
- Councils in Lothians strike deals after days of negotiations
- Councils across Scotland starting to take shape after days of negotiations
- Negotiations across the Lothians in the wake of local government elections