BERLIN: Germany’s highest court will on Tuesday announce its ruling on whether to ban the far-right NPD party — an explosive issue as Germany faces an election year roiled by an anti-immigration backlash. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government supports the case, although the executive has not formally joined the high-stakes legal gamble, launched by the Bundesrat upper house of parliament which represents Germany’s 16 states. Most observers expect the judges at the Federal Constitutional Court to reject the bid, the second against the neo-Nazi NPD (National Democratic Party of Germany) after the first one failed in 2003. “We aren’t madly optimistic,” one of the initiators of the court proceedings told the Berliner Zeitung daily in December. While the NPD’s ideology is widely regarded as hostile to the democratic order in Germany, many expect the judges to find it unnecessary to forbid such an insignificant political party. Spurred by the sensational discovery of a murderous group calling itself the “National Socialist Underground” (NSU) in 2011, the Bundesrat launched the second attempt to outlaw the NPD in 2013. Since then, the NPD has lost its remaining seats in state parliaments, retaining just one representative, Udo Voigt, in the European Parliament.