President: Tommy Remengesau
Tommy Remengesau was elected president for the third time in November 2012, having previously served two terms from 2001-9.
He campaigned on a platform of encouraging foreign investment and improving services for ordinary Palauans. During his previous time in office, he worked to raise awareness of the threat posed to the Pacific by global warming.
In March 2013, the president proposed banning all commercial fishing in Palau's territorial waters to create one of the world's largest marine reserves - the size of France.
Remengesau said that as fishing in the area was dominated by vessels Japan and Taiwan, Palau was being "short-changed".
His predecessor, Johnson Toribiong, beat Mr Remengesau's Vice-President, Elias Camsek Chin at the previous election in 2009. Mr Remengesau did not stand in 2009, as he served his maximum two consecutive terms.
Like Mr Remengesau, President Toribiong sought to end Palau's dependence on US aid and diversify its economy beyond tourism. But the later years of time in office were overshadowed by corruption allegations.