President: Bujar Nishani
Bujar Nishani was elected president by parliament in June 2012, replacing Bamir Topi when his mandate came to an end.
The main opposition Socialist Party boycotted the vote, and Mr Nishani was the only candidate put forward by the ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Sali Berisha's Democratic Party.
Albania had been mired in political crisis for three years since the Socialists accused the Democrats of electoral fraud after the June 2009 legislative polls, and the failure to agree a consensus presidential candidate marked a setback for European Union efforts to ease political tensions. Government and opposition leaders traded accusations of sabotage throughout the process, which went through several rounds.
Mr Nishani, 46, was the country's interior minister at the time of his election. He is a graduate of Albania's military academy and holds degrees in law and European studies.
The president, who serves a five-year term, has an important role as the head of the legal system and commander of the country's armed forces.
Prime minister: Sali Berisha
The centre-right Democratic Party led by the former president, Sali Berisha, was re-elected by a narrow margin in parliamentary elections in July 2009, defeating the main opposition Socialists.
The election count, which produced the closest result since Albania toppled communism in 1990, was accompanied by disputes over procedure and claims of intimidation.
The Socialists refused to recognise the election result, and began a campaign of mass protests and civil disobedience in support of demands for a partial recount.
Mr Berisha first became prime minister following victory in general elections in July 2005.
That vote was also followed by wrangling over the count, with re-runs demanded in a number of constituencies. It was nearly two months before the result was finally declared.
An erstwhile communist, Mr Berisha formed the Democratic Party in the early 1990s and in 1992 became Albania's first non-communist president since the Second World War.
His bid to liberalise the economy fast increased hardship for the majority. His presidency came to an end in 1997 when the collapse of fraudulent pyramid investment schemes led to violent unrest.
As prime minister, Mr Berisha promised to stamp out corruption, reduce taxation, attract greater foreign investment and develop the infrastructure.
He succeeded in gaining Albania Nato membership in April 2009, and the country formally applied for European Union membership the same month after a June 2006 Stabilisation and Association agreement.
Born in 1944 and a former heart specialist, Mr Berisha is known as an orator and has faced accusations of authoritarianism in the past.