The Latvian Popular Front, established in 1988 to unite proindependence forces, split apart after independence was achieved, giving way to a number of new parties, many defined by their stance on the status of the country's Russian-speaking population. Following the October 1998 elections the 100 seats in the Saeima were distributed as follows: People's Party, 24; Latvian Way Union, 21; Fatherland and Freedom/Latvian National Conservative Party, 17; Popular Harmony Party, 16; Latvian Social Democratic Alliance, 14; and New Party, 8. There were also other political parties not represented in the Saeima.
Following the October 2002 parliamentary elections, New Era, a new party led by former central bank head Einars Repse, won the most seats in the Saeima (26), followed by the For Human Rights in a United Latvia Party with 24, the People's Party with 21, the Alliance of Greens and Farmers with 12, Latvia's First Party with 10, and the For Fatherland and Freedom Party with 7. Repse was named prime minister, leading a coalition of New Era, Latvia's First Party, the Alliance of Greens and Farmers, and the For Fatherland and Freedom Party.