The opposition New Era party elected former economics minister Krisjanis Karins as its new chairman at an extraordinary congress on March 31. Previous party leader Einars Repse, who had led the party since 2001, was given the position of chairman of the newly-formed party council, which will represent the heads of the party's regional factions. Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis said that no matter who runs the party, he does not think it will be able to work with the ruling coalition. Kalvitis added that he cannot regard New Era as a serious party as the group has acted irresponsibly on matters important to national interests.
The eastern region of Ludza has declared a state emergency due to the long lines of trucks on the Latvian-Russian border. There have been chronic problems with the lines of trucks waiting to cross the border, but the number of trucks broke new records on April 3 with over 1,500 waiting to get across and no sign of the lines getting any shorter in the run-up to the Easter holidays. Local authorities are concerned about availability of toilets, traffic control and criminal gangs who might move in to regulate the queues unless authorities beat them to it. Both Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis and Transport Minister Ainars Slesers expressed concern about the problem at a government meeting called to address the issue.