Head of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by a governor
Prime minister: Perry Christie
The Progressive Liberal Party returned to power at elections in May 2012, and party leader Perry Christie became prime minister for the second time. He defeated Hubert Ingraham's Free National Movement, which had won parliamentary elections in 2007.
The PLP had dominated Bahamian politics up until 1992, when the FNM swept to victory on an anti-corruption programme. The PLP returned to power in 2002, and the two parties have alernated in government ever since.
Mr Christie, 69, was prime minister in 2002-2007. Top of his agenda now is tackling the high unemployment rate, concerns about rising crime figures, and controversy over oil exploration.
Critics fear that oil development could harm the ecology and tourism sector. Mr Christie supports exploration, but insists he will protect the vital tourism industry.