President: Michel Suleiman
The Lebanese parliament finally elected General Michel Suleiman as president in May 2008 after six months of political stalemate that followed the departure of the previous president, Emile Lahoud, in November 2007.
The agreement that paved the way for his election ended some of the worst factional violence since Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war.
As mounting clashes raised fears of a renewed civil war, the Western-backed government and the Hezbollah-led opposition agreed on General Suleiman - the head of the country's armed forces - as a compromise candidate.
On taking office, the new president hailed the opening of a new phase in Lebanese history, saying that his fellow countrymen had "refused to succumb to self-destruction".
General Suleiman stood unopposed for the presidency, and is widely seen as a unifying figure, whose apparent neutrality has earned him the respect of both sides of the political divide. He is credited with having kept the army on the sidelines in times of political crisis.
He is a Maronite Christian, and so his election also met the requirement of Lebanon's complex power-sharing system that the presidency should be held by a member of that sect.
Prime minister: Najib Mikati (resigned)
Najib Mikati took five months to form a cabinet dominated by Hezbollah and its allies in the summer of 2011.
The powerful Shia group had toppled the pro-western coalition led by Saad Hariri at the beginning of the year after he refused to end co-operation with the UN tribunal investigating the assassination of his father, Rafik. Hezbollah members have reportedly been implicated in the killing.
A Sunni Muslim, Mr Mikati tried to present a non-partisan face to key powerbrokers like Saudi Arabia, but the opposition Future bloc derided him as a figleaf for Hezbollah rule.
The 55-year-old telecoms tycoon first entered politics in 1998, and briefly headed an interim government that tried to counterbalance Syrian and Hezbollah influence in 2005.
His government faced serious challenges in late 2012 from the Future bloc, which accused him of failing to prevent Syrian interference in Lebanon, in particular the assassination of Intelligence Chief Wissam al-Hassan.
- In March 2013 Mr Mikati resigned after his divided cabinet was unable to agree on how elections should be staged later this year. The government was also split on the reappointment of an influential security official.
- Following a dangerous two-week power vacuum, in April 2013 the Sunni Muslim politician Tamam Salam received the backing of parties across the political spectrum to form a new government.