Head of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by a governor
Prime minister: Dean Barrow
Dean Barrow's United Democratic Party (UDP) won the general election in February 2008 and again in March 2012.
A leading lawyer, he was elected to parliament in 1984 and served in senior positions in UDP governments until opposition the PUP won a landslide in 1998. He then led the party in opposition until its victory at the polls in 2008.
In the 2008 vote, he unseated the People's United Party (PUP) government of Said Musa, which had been in power for 10 years. In the last years of Mr Musa's government, the PUP had been rocked by allegations of corruption.
The PUP was the driving force behind independence and was pretty much unchallenged at the ballot box until the formation of UDP in the mid-1970s.