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FILE PHOTO - Supporters and members of the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) march during a demonstration on May Day in Berlin, May 1, 2013. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo


KARLSRUHE, Germany (Reuters) - Germany's Constitutional Court on Tuesday rejected an attempt by the country's 16 federal states to ban the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD), described by the intelligence agency as racist and anti-Semitic, saying it was too weak to pose a threat.

In the closely-watched ruling, which comes amid concern over rising support for right-wing groups due to resentment about an influx of migrants, court President Andreas Vosskuhle said, however, that the party was anti-constitutional in nature.

"The NPD pursues anti-constitutional goals but at the moment there is an insufficient weight of evidence to make it appear possible that their behaviour will result in success," said Vosskuhle.

The federal states started exploring a legal ban after the chance discovery of the National Socialist Underground (NSU) in 2011, blamed for killing nine immigrants and a police woman between 2000 and 2007.

(Reporting by Ursuala Knapp; Writing by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Michelle Martin)

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