Germany’s highest court will hear a landmark request on Tuesday to ban a neo-Nazi fringe party, more than a decade after a first attempt failed.
The case before the Federal Constitutional Court will argue that the far-right and anti-immigrant National Democratic Party (NPD) is a threat to the country’s democratic order.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government supports the case, although it has not formally joined the legal gamble launched by the upper house of parliament that represents Germany’s 16 states.
Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert has repeatedly labelled the NPD “an anti-democratic, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-constitutional party”.
Critics charge the proceedings will give the NPD, a party with only about 5,200 members, a national stage and that a ban could turn its members into martyrs for their racist cause.
The party, founded in 1964 as a successor to the neo-fascist German Reich Party, scored just 1.3% in 2013 national elections and has never crossed the 5% hurdle for entry into the national parliament.