Latvia profile - Leaders
President: Andris Berzins
Andris Berzins was voted into office by parliament in June 2011 amid a controversy over corruption.
The outgoing president Valdis Zatlers lost his bid for a second term just days after he demanded a snap general election to root out corruption.
He attacked the influence of three politicians who are also businessmen, calling them oligarchs.
The presidential vote exposed strains in the ruling coalition.
Berzins, a wealthy businessman and former head of one Latvia's biggest banks, won the backing of 53 MPs in the 100-seat parliament.
He was elected to parliament in 2010.
Prime minister: Valdis Dombrovskis
Valdis Dombrovskis became prime minister in March 2009 after the previous coalition government of Ivars Godmanis collapsed amid widespread discontent at its handling of the economic crisis.
Mr Dombrovskis' centre-right coalition was re-elected comfortably in elections in October 2010, regaining the parliamentary majority it had lost in March when the then largest party in his cabinet quit over a dispute about austerity measures.
A month after the elections, Mr Dombrovskis formed a government with the second-largest coalition partner, the Union of Farmers and Greens, to replace his initial five-party coalition.
However, the new government again proved short-lived, and was voted out of office in the September 2011 snap election called by the then president, Valdis Zatlers.
Mr Dombrovskis put together a new coalition between his Unity Party, the Zatlers Reform Party and the nationalist National Union bloc, excluding the pro-Russian centre-left Harmony Centre, which had emerged from the elections as the largest party.
During his first term in office, Mr Dombrovskis pushed through some of the toughest austerity measures in Europe in an effort to rescue the state from bankruptcy and prepare Latvia to join the euro by 2014.
The deep public spending cuts gave rise to widespread anger at home, but the government's policies impressed international lenders - especially the IMF and the EU, which in 2009 agreed a 7.5bn euro ($10bn) bailout for the country. Investors see Mr Dombrovskis as the main guarantor of the rescue loans agreed.
Mr Dombrovski's efforts to achieve eurozone membership bore fruit in June 2013, when the European Commission approved plans for the country to start using the currency in 2014.
The plans are to go ahead despite the fact that most Latvians, spooked by the eurozone debt crisis, are reluctant to give up the lats.
Born in 1971 and a physicist by training, he was an MP and finance minister in 2002-2004. From 2004 to 2009 he was a member of the European Parliament.