Local elections in Greece on Sunday (18 May) will be the first big electoral test for Prime Minister Antonis Samaras since he took office in 2012.Samaras’s pro-bail-out centre-right New Democracy is neck-and-neck with the left-wing opposition Syriza, opinion polls suggest. Both parties are expected to win around 20% of the vote.Although it is only the municipal and regional councils that the Greeks will choose, it is the national leaders who are campaigning. Samaras presents his party as the guarantee of political stability and crucial reforms. Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras – who is also the nominee of the European Left for president of the European Commission – is seeking to exploit popular discontent with austerity measures. Another party that has benefited from public anger is the far-right Golden Dawn. Its popularity rose in the wake of the country’s debt crisis, and it expects a similar boost from widespread anger overimmigration and austerity. The party took around 7% of the vote in the 2012 national election and now polls at around 8%.Analysts fear the unpredictability may further destabilise Greece’s political landscape as support for the government weakens. New Democracy’s coalition partner, the centre-left PASOK, is expected to receive about 7% of the votes. Evangelos Venizelos, its leader, who is also foreign affairs minister, said that if support forPASOK declines, “there is no government, there is no stability, there is no prospect for the nation”.The Athens mayoral race has become symbolic of the struggle. There are seven contenders for the post, with Georgios Kaminis, the current socialist mayor, in the lead in the polls. Aris Spiliotopoulos, who is linked to New Democracy, is in second place, followed by the Syriza and Golden Dawn candidates.The second round of local elections is scheduled for 25 May, and will coincide with the vote for the European Parliament.