Head of state: King Abdullah II
King Abdullah II, Jordan's monarch since 1999, has extensive powers: he appoints governments, approves legislation and is able to dissolve parliament.
Over the past few years, he has been facing growing demands for political reform, and following the popular uprising in Tunisia which led to the flight of the president in January 2011, King Abdullah dismissed his government and appointed the first in a series of prime ministers to oversee the introduction of political change.
Previously he had backed a 10-year programme for political, social and economic reform and supported a plan for elected local councils. Conservative legislators were apprehensive about the proposals.
Balancing diplomatic interests with domestic demands has been tricky for King Abdullah. The country's peace agreement with Israel and its close ties with the US are unpopular with many Jordanians.
In the wake of the November 2005 suicide bombings in Amman, the king declared that security and stability were top priorities and called for a strategy to deal with the "changed circumstances".
Abdullah is the eldest son of the late King Hussein and his British-born second wife, Toni. The couple divorced in 1972. Born in 1962 and educated in Britain and the US, he was named as crown prince shortly after his birth. The king transferred the title to his own brother, Hassan, in 1965, only to return it to Abdullah in 1999.
He is married to a Palestinian - an asset since most Jordanians are of Palestinian origin - and enjoys car racing, water sports and collecting antique weapons. He is a career soldier and once led Jordan's special forces.
Prime minister: Abdullah Ensour
Reformist Abdullah Ensour was sworn in as head of a new government on 30 March, only months after offering his resignation following parliamentary elections in January 2013.
Mr Ensour, a former minister and vocal advocate of democratic reform, was re-nominated by the king following extensive consultation with parliament. Previously, MPs played no role in the process.
However, the main opposition Islamic Action Front said the exercise was largely cosmetic.
Observers said the new cabinet's main task will be to cut government spending in order to deal with Jordan's growing budget deficit and financial crisis.
In a first cost-cutting effort, the cabinet was shrunk to its smallest size in four decades.
Pro-government candidates swept to victory in the January poll, which was billed as key to pushing forward King Abdullah's reform programme but was boycotted by the Islamic Action Front.
Mr Ensour said the election was a stepping stone on the path of "more vigorous, serious" reforms.
The Islamic Action Front and other smaller parties boycotted the poll to protest an election law they saw as biased in favour of the king's supporters.
King Abdullah surprised observers when he first appointed Mr Ensour as prime minister in October 2012, shortly after dissolving parliament.
Mr Ensour, an independent MP, had good connections both to the Royal Court and to opposition groups, including the Islamic Action Front and the powerful trade unions.