Leader: Abdirahman Muhammad Mahmud "Farole"
Abdirahman Muhammad was elected by parliament on 8 January 2009, defeating Gen Mahmud Muse Hirsi "Adde" Muse, who had been in power since 2005.
Having served as finance minister in the previous administration, the new president campaigned on a platform of economic reform, improving the security situation, combating piracy and corruption, as well as criticism of allegedly illegal oil deals signed by his predecessor.
On coming to power, Abdirahman Muhammad declared cracking down on piracy as his number one priority. However, there was no immediate concrete action, and the president said several months later that his government was "unable to do anything" about the pirates, instead urging foreign states to redouble their own efforts.
Puntland is governed by a 66-member House of Representatives and a traditional council of elders.
The territory's first leader, Colonel Abdullahi Yusuf, served a three-year term until 2001, when his attempt to extend his mandate triggered fierce fighting.
Col Yusuf reclaimed the leadership in 2002 and led Puntland until his election as Somalia's transitional president in October 2004. He was known for his authoritarian approach.
Mohamed Adde Muse agreed in November 2006 to introduce Islamic law in the territory, apparently following pressure from local Muslim and clan leaders, many of whom had threatened to revolt.
In 2008 Adde Muse dismissed growing international accusations that he was sheltering the pirates involved in raids on ships in the Indian Ocean.