Civilisation/World Politics

From Quiz Revision Notes



Algeria gained independence from France in 1962. The first president was Ahmed Ben Bella.

Abdelaziz Bouteflika was president from 1999 to 2019.

The current president is Abdelmadjid Tebboune.


Angola has a unicameral parliament. Political power is concentrated in the presidency.

Agostinho Neto served as the first President of Angola (1975–79), leading the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) in the war for independence from Portugal and the civil war.

The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, commonly known by the acronym, UNITA, is an Angolan political party and was originally an anti-colonial movement which became a rebel force after Angola's independence in 1975. Until 2002 UNITA was largely a military force in the Angolan Civil War fighting the MPLA. From its foundation until his death in 2002, UNITA was led by its founder, Jonas Savimbi.

Jose Eduardo dos Santos was the president of Angola from 1979 to 2017.

The current president is Joao Lourenco.


Benin was known as the Republic of Dahomey until 1975.

The president who led the country to independence from France in 1960 was Hubert Maga.


Bechuanaland became independent from the United Kingdom in 1966 as the Republic of Botswana, and Seretse Khama became its first president. He held the post until his death in 1980.

Botswana is the oldest democracy in Africa.

The current president is Mokgweetsi Masiri.

Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso gained independence from France in 1960 as Upper Volta. President Thomas Sankara renamed the country to Burkina Faso (“land of the upright men”) in 1984.

Ibrahim Traore has been the interim leader of Burkina Faso since the 2022 coup d'état which ousted interim president Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba. At age 34, Traore is the world's youngest currently serving state leader.


The country claimed independence from Belgium in 1962, and legally changed its name from Ruanda-Urundi to Burundi.

The president of Burundi is the head of state and head of government.


In 1960, French Cameroun gained independence from France under President Ahmadou Ahidjo. In 1961, the formerly British Southern Cameroons gained independence from the United Kingdom and joined with French Cameroun to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon.

Ahmadou Ahidjo was president until 1982 and was succeeded by Paul Biya, who is still the country’s president. Biya also served as Prime Minister from 1975 to 1982.

Cape Verde

Cape Verde gained independence from Portugal in 1975.

The president is the head of state and is elected by popular vote for a five-year term.

Central African Republic

Central African Republic gained independence from France in 1960. David Dacko served as the first president until 1966.

Dacko was overthrown in a coup d'état by Colonel Jean-Bédel Bokassa, who suspended the constitution and dissolved the National Assembly. President Bokassa declared himself President for Life in 1972 and named himself Emperor Bokassa I of the Central African Empire, as the country was renamed, in 1976.

Emperor Bokassa spent nearly a third of the country’s GDP on a coronation ceremony inspired by Napoleon Bonaparte’s.

In 1979, France overthrew Bokassa and restored Dacko to power, subsequently restoring the official name of the country.

Faustin-Archange Touadera has been president since 2016.


Chad was granted independence from France in 1960 with Francois Tombalbaye as its first president.

Idriss Deby ruled Chad from 1990 until his death in 2021. His son Mahamat Deby is serving as the transitional president.


In 1975, the Comorian parliament passed a unilateral resolution declaring independence from France.

Since independence, the Comoros has experienced more than 20 coups or attempted coups.

The island of Mayotte chose to remain with France after independence.

Republic of the Congo

Republic of the Congo became fully independent from France in 1960.

Denis Sassou Nguesso has been the President since 1997. He served a previous term as president from 1979 to 1992.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Belgian Congo achieved independence from Belgium in 1960 under the name "Republic of Congo". Patrice Lumumba was the first legally elected Prime Minister. Only ten weeks later, Lumumba's government was deposed in a coup led by Mobutu during the Congo Crisis. He was subsequently imprisoned and executed by firing squad under the command of the secessionist Katangan authorities in 1961.

Mobutu Sese Seko established the Popular Movement of the Revolution as the sole legal political party in 1967 and changed the Congo's name to Zaire in 1971.

In 1997 Mobutu fled and Laurent Kabila named himself as president and reverted the name of the country to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Laurent Kabila was assassinated in 2001 and replaced by his son, Joseph Kabila.

Joseph Kabila was succeeded as president in 2019 by Felix Tshisekedi.


French Territory of the Afars and the Issas became independent as Djibouti in 1977.

Ismail Omar Guelleh has been President since 1999.


Following independence from the United Kingdom in 1922, Sultan Fuad I assumed the title of King of Egypt.

King Farouk was toppled in a coup d’état in 1952, and the Kingdom of Egypt became the Republic of Egypt. Muhammad Naguib became the first president.

Anwar Sadat was assassinated by fundamentalist army officers in 1981.

Presidents of Egypt

1953-1954 Muhammad Naguib
1954-1970 Gamal Nasser
1970-1981 Anwar Sadat
1981-2011 Hosni Mubarak
2012-2013 Mohamed Morsi
2014- Abdel Fattah el-Sisi

Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea declared independence from Spain in 1968.

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is the President of Equatorial Guinea, having served since 1979. He is the longest-serving president of any country ever.


Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993. Isaias Afwerki is the first President of Eritrea, a position he has held since its independence


The government is an absolute monarchy.

Swaziland was granted independence from the United Kingdom in 1968.The country was officially renamed in 2018.


Italy recognized the sovereignty and independence of Ethiopia in 1947.

Haile Selassie's rule ended in 1974, when he was deposed by the Derg, a non-ideological committee made up of military and police officers led by Aman Andom.

Abiy Ahmed has been Prime Minister since 2018. He won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in ending the 20-year post-war territorial stalemate between Ethiopia and Eritrea.


Gabon gained independence from France in 1960.

Omar Bongo served as President from 1967 until his death in 2009. He was replaced by his son, Ali Bongo.

Gabon joined the Commonwealth of Nations in 2022.


Gambia achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1965, as a constitutional monarchy within the Commonwealth.

Gambia became a republic within the Commonwealth in 1970.

Yahya Jammeh was President of Gambia from 1996 until 2017. In 2007, Jammeh claimed he could cure HIV/AIDS and asthma with natural herbs. After leaving office, his assets were frozen by many countries and he went into exile in Equatorial Guinea.


The Republic of Ghana was formed when the country gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1957. Ghana was the first sub-Saharan African country to gain independence.

Kwame Nkrumah was the leader of Ghana and its predecessor state, the Gold Coast, from 1952 to 1966.

Jerry Rawlings led a military junta from 1981 until 1992, and then served two terms as the democratically elected President of Ghana from 1993 to 2001.

Nana Akufo-Addo has served as president since 2017.


Ahmed Sekou Toure became President upon Guinea's independence from France in 1958, establishing a one-party dictatorship.

Alpha Conde served as president from 2010 to 2021, when he was captured by the country's armed forces in a coup d'état.


Guinea-Bissau declared independence from Portugal in 1973.

Luís Cabral was the first President of Guinea-Bissau. He served from 1974 to 1980, when a military coup d'état led by Joao Bernardo Vieira deposed him.

Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire)

Ivory Coast became a republic in 1958 and gained independence from France in 1960.

The first president was Felix Houphouet-Boigny, who served from 1960 until his death in 1993.

Laurent Gbagbo was president from 2000 until 2011. He was arrested in 2011 and extradited to The Hague, where he was charged with four counts of crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court in connection with the post-election violence.

Alassane Ouattara has been President since 2010.


From 1952 to 1959, Kenya was in a state of emergency arising from the Mau Mau rebellion against British rule.

Jomo Kenyatta served as the first Prime Minister (1963–64) and President.

In 1991, Kenya transitioned to a multiparty political system after 26 years of single-party rule.

Uhura Kenyatta is the son of Jomo Kenyatta.

Presidents of Kenya

1964-1978 Jomo Kenyatta
1978-2002 Daniel arap Moi
2002-2013 Mwai Kibaki
2013-2022 Uhura Kenyatta
2022- William Ruto


Basutoland gained its independence from the United Kingdom and became the Kingdom of Lesotho in 1966.

The Government is a parliamentary or constitutional monarchy.


Based on the political principles of the United States Constitution, the independent Republic of Liberia was established in 1847. Liberia is Africa’s oldest republic.

Between 1847 and 1980, the presidency was exclusively held by Americo-Liberians.

Joseph Jenkins Roberts was the first president of Liberia, serving from 1848 to 1856.

William Tolbert was President from 1971 until 1980, when he was killed in a coup d’état. The True Whig Party was dissolved following the coup.

Samuel Doe was President from 1980 to 1990. He was overthrown and murdered in a civil war.

Charles Taylor was President from 1997 to 2003. During his term of office, Taylor was accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity as a result of his involvement in the Sierra Leone Civil War (1991–2002).

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was president from 2006 to 2018. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, in recognition of her efforts to bring women into the peacekeeping process.

George Weah has served as president since 2018.


Italy relinquished all claims to Libya as part of the 1947 peace treaty with the Allies.

Libya declared independence in 1951, and was ruled as a constitutional monarchy under King Idris I.

Taking power in a coup d'etat, Muammar Gaddafi ruled as Revolutionary Chairman of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then as the "Brotherly Leader" of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011, when he was ousted in the Libyan Civil War.

The politics of Libya has been in a tumultuous state since 2011.


Madagascar became independent from France as the Malagasy Republic in 1960. The country was renamed the Democratic Republic of Madagascar in 1975.

Philibert Tsiranana was the first president of Madagascar, serving until 1972.

Madagascar was suspended from the African Union from 2009 to 2014, following a military coup.


Nyasaland became independent from Britain in 1964 and was renamed Malawi.

Hastings Banda was the leader of Malawi from 1961 to 1994.

Joyce Banda was president from 2012 to 2014. She was the second woman to become the president in the African continent after Liberia's Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.


Mali gained independence from France in 1960.

Mali Federation was a federation linking the French colonies of Senegal and the Sudanese Republic (or French Sudan) for two months in 1960. Senegal withdrew from the federation, the Sudanese Republic officials resisted this dissolution, cut off diplomatic relations with Senegal, and changed the name of their country to Mali.

Until a military coup in 2012, Mali was a constitutional democracy. The president serves as a chief of state and commander in chief of the armed forces.

The current political situation is very unstable.


Mauritania gained independence from France in 1960.

Moktar Ould Daddah was president from 1960 until he was deposed in a military coup d’état in 1978.


Mauritius declared independence from the United Kingdom in 1968.

In 1992, Mauritius was proclaimed a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations. The last governor general, Sir Veerasamy Ringadoo, became the first president.


In 1956 Mohammed V successfully negotiated with France for the independence of Morocco, and in 1957 he took the title of King.

King Hassan II reigned from 1961 to 1999.

Morocco withdrew from the African Union in 1984 over the admission of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (Western Sahara) but rejoined in 2017.


Mozambique gained independence from Portugal in 1975. The new government under President Samora Machel established a one-party state based on Marxist principles.

Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) was a liberation movement which was founded in 1962 to fight for the independence of the Portuguese Overseas Province of Mozambique.

A civil war between the opposition forces of anti-communist Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) rebel militias and the FRELIMO regime took place between 1977 and 1992.

Mozambique joined the Commonwealth in 1995 and was the first country admitted without links to any other member.


Namibia gained independence from South Africa in 1990, and was formerly known as South West Africa.

Sam Nujoma was the first President of Namibia. He was inaugurated as President in 1990 and was subsequently re-elected in 1994 and 1999. He was also President of the South-West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) from its founding in 1960 until 2007.


Niger gained independence from France in 1960.

Hamani Diori was the first president, serving until his rule was ended with a coup in 1974.


Nigeria gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1960, as the Federation of Nigeria with Abubakar Tafawa Balewa as its prime minister.

Nnamdi Azikiwe, known as “Zik”, served as the last Governor-General from 1960 to 1963 and the first President of Nigeria from 1963 to 1966

Goodluck Jonathan was President of Nigeria from 2010 to 2015. He was succeeded by Muhammadu Buhari.


Rwanda gained independence from Belgium in 1962

In 1994 president Juvenal Habyarimana's plane was shot down near Kigali Airport, killing him. The shooting down of the plane served as the catalyst for the Rwandan genocide.

Rwanda joined the Commonwealth in 2009.

Paul Kagame has been president of Rwanda since 2000.

Sao Tome and Principe

Sao Tome and Principe gained independence from Portugal in 1975.

In 1990, Sao Tome became one of the first African countries to undergo democratic reform, and changes to the constitution – the legalization of opposition political parties – led to elections in 1991 that were nonviolent, free, and transparent.


Senegal gained independence from France in 1960.

Leopold Senghor was the first President of Senegal, serving from 1960 to 1980.

Macky Sall has been president since 2012.


In 1976, Seychelles was granted independence from the United Kingdom and became a republic.

France-Albert Rene was president from 1997 to 2004.

Sierra Leone

Milton Margai was the first prime minister of Sierra Leone. He was the main architect of the post-colonial constitution of Sierra Leone and guided it to independence from the United Kingdom in 1961. After his death in 1964, his brother, Albert, was appointed as Prime Minister.

Siaka Stevens became the first president after Sierra Leone became a republic in 1971.


British Somaliland became independent in 1960 as the State of Somaliland, and the Trust Territory of Somalia (the former Italian Somaliland) followed suit five days later. On 1 July 1960, the two territories united to form the Somali Republic.

The first president of Somalia was Aden Abdullah Osman Daar.

South Africa

South Africa is a parliamentary republic. The lower house is the National Assembly and consists of 400 members. The upper house is the National Council of Provinces.

The African National Congress (ANC) has been the governing political party in South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has been the official opposition at national level since the 1999 general election.

The South Africa Act 1909 granted nominal independence.

In 1931, the union became fully sovereign from the United Kingdom with the passage of the Statute of Westminster.

South Africa became a republic in 1961.

Jan Smuts served as Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa from 1919 until 1924 and from 1939 until 1948. He was the only person to sign the peace treaties ending both the First and Second World Wars.

Helen Suzman was the only anti-apartheid MP in South Africa in the 1960s.

Hendrik Verwoerd was prime minister from 1958 until his death in 1966. He was assassinated in Cape Town by a parliamentary messenger named Dimitri Tsafendas.

Oliver Tambo was President of the ANC from 1967 to 1991. He lived in exile in London.

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) was founded by Chief Buthelezi in 1975. He was leader of the party until 2019.

The Tricameral Parliament was the name given to the South African parliament and its structure from 1984 to 1994. While still entrenching the political power of the White section of the South African population (or, more specifically, that of the National Party), it did give a limited political voice to the country's Coloured and Indian population groups. The majority Black population group was still excluded.

Walter Sisulu was a member of the ANC and was imprisoned on Robben Island from 1964 to 1989.

Nelson Mandela was released from Victor Verster prison, on Robben Island (near Cape Town) on 11 February 1990 after 27 years in prison. He was released by F. W. de Klerk.

State Presidents of South Africa

1961-1967 C. R. Swart
1968-1975 Jim Fouche
1975-1978 Nico Diederichs
1978-1979 John Vorster
1979-1984 Marais Viljoen
1984-1989 P. W. Botha
1989-1994 F. W. de Klerk

Presidents of South Africa

1994-1999 Nelson Mandela
1999-2008 Thabo Mbeki
2008-2009 Kgalema Motlanthe
2009-2018 Jacob Zuma
2018- Cyril Ramaphosa

South Sudan

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011.

Salva Kiir has been president since independence. He is known for wearing a black Stetson hat.


Sudan gained independence in 1956 from the United Kingdom and Egypt.

Since independence it has suffered ethnic violence and endured a civil war.

Ismail al-Azhari served as the first Prime Minister of Sudan between 1954 and 1956, and as President of Sudan from 1965 until he was overthrown by Gaafar Nimeiry in 1969.

Omar al-Bashir served as the head of state of Sudan under various titles from 1989 until 2019, when he was deposed in a coup.


Tanzania is a one-party dominant state with the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party in power.

Tanganyika gained independence in 1961.

Zanzibar became independent in 1963 and merged with Tanganyika in 1964 as the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Later the same year, the country was renamed the United Republic of Tanzania.

Julius Nyerere served as the first President of Tanzania, from the country's founding in 1961 until his retirement in 1985.

John Magufuli served as president from 2015 to 2021. He was known as “The Bulldozer”.

Samia Suluhu Hassan has been serving since 2021 as the sixth and first female president of Tanzania.


Togo gained independence from France in 1960.

Sylvanus Olympio was the first president of Togo. He was assassinated during the 1963 Togolese coup d'état.

Gnassingbe Eyadema was the president from 1967 until his death in 2005. His son, Faure Gnassingbe took over as president.

Togo joined the Commonwealth of Nations in 2022.


Tunisia gained independence from France in 1956 as the Kingdom of Tunisia. A year later, Tunisia was declared a republic, with Habib Bourguiba as the first President.

Habib Bourguiba served as president until 1987.

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was president from 1987 to 2011, when he fled the country during the Tunisian revolution.

Kais Saied has served as president since 2019.

Najla Bouden is the current prime minister. She took office in 2021, making her the first female prime minister both in Tunisia and the Arab world.


Milton Obote, Prime Minister of Uganda from 1962 to 1966 and President of Uganda from 1966 to 1971 and from 1980 to 1985, was a Ugandan political leader who led Uganda to independence from the British colonial administration in 1962.

After a military coup in 1971, Obote was deposed from power and General Idi Amin seized control of the country. Amin ruled Uganda as dictator with the support of the military until 1979. He died in exile in Saudi Arabia in 2003.

Yoweri Museveni has been president since his forces toppled the previous regime in 1986.


Northern Rhodesia became the Republic of Zambia in 1964, with Kenneth Kaunda as the first president.

Kenneth Kaunda served as the president until 1991.

Guy Scott, a Zambian of Scottish descent, served as acting President of Zambia from 2014 to 2015.


In 1965, the white minority government led by Ian Smith unilaterally declared independence (UDI) from the United Kingdom as Rhodesia.

Ian Smith and Harold Wilson held two rounds of direct negotiations, both of which were held aboard Royal Navy ships off Gibraltar. The first took place aboard HMS Tiger in 1966, while the second, aboard HMS Fearless, were held in 1968.

Bishop Abel Muzarewa served as the first and only Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Rhodesia from the Internal Settlement to the Lancaster House Agreement in 1979.

The Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) is a Zimbabwean Socialist party that has been the ruling political party in Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, led by Robert Mugabe, first as Prime Minister with the party simply known as ZANU, and then as President from 1988 after taking over ZAPU (Zimbabwe African People’s Union, led by Joshua Nkomo) and renaming the party ZANU-PF.

Canaan Banana served as the first President of Zimbabwe from 1980 until 1987, when Robert Mugabe succeeded him.

Prior to its split in 2005, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was a Zimbabwean political party organized under the leadership of Morgan Tsvangirai. The party split over whether to contest the 2005 senate election.

Morgan Tsvangirai served as prime minister from 2009 to 2013.

In 2017, Mugabe was placed under house arrest by the country's national army in a coup d'état, and Mugabe resigned six days later. Emmerson Mnangagwa has since served as Zimbabwe's president.

Emmerson Mnangagwa is known as “The Crocodile”. The faction within ZANU–PF that supports him is called Lacoste after the French clothing company, whose logo is a crocodile.

Zimbabwe withdrew from the Commonwealth in 2003.

Presidents of Zimbabwe

1980-1987 Canaan Banana
1987-2017 Robert Mugabe
2017- Emmerson Mnangagwa



Afghanistan became a republic in 1973 when King Zahir was deposed.

Burhanuddin Rabbani was president from 1992 to 2001. He was in exile from 1996 to 2001.

Hamid Karzai served as president from 2002 to 2014.

Ahraf Ghani served as president from 2014 to 2021, when his government was overthrown by the Taliban.


Bahrain is a semi-constitutional monarchy headed by the King. The head of government is the prime minister.

Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa is the Crown Prince and the current prime minister.

In 1971, Bahrain declared independence and signed a new treaty of friendship with the United Kingdom.

Bahrain changed its formal name from the State of Bahrain to the Kingdom of Bahrain in 2002.


Bangladesh declared independence from Pakistan in 1971. It is a parliamentary republic.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was the first president.

Bangladesh experienced a two party system between 1990 and 2014, when the Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) alternated in power.

Mohammad Abdul Hamid has been president since 2013.


Bhutan is a constitutional monarchy. The political system consists of the National Council (upper house) and the National Assembly (lower house).


Brunei's political system is governed by the constitution and the national tradition of the Malay Islamic Monarchy.

Hassanal Bolkiah became Sultan in 1967, after his father abdicated the throne. He has also served as the Prime Minister of Brunei since independence from the United Kingdom in 1984.


Cambodia gained independence from France in 1953.

The government is a constitutional monarchy.

Norodom Sihanouk was the King of Cambodia from 1941 to 1955 and again from 1993 until 2004. He also served as Prime Minister from 1955 to 1960.

In 1970 Sihanouk was ousted by a military coup led by Prime Minister General Lon Nol.

Khmer Rouge is the name given to members of the Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK) and by extension to the regime through which the CPK ruled Cambodia between 1975 and 1979. Led by Pol Pot.

Hun Sen has been the prime minister of Cambodia since 1985.


Republic of China was established in 1912, and Sun Yat-sen of the Kuomintang (the KMT or Nationalist Party) was proclaimed provisional president.

Kuomintang is a major political party in the Republic of China, initially on the Chinese mainland and then in Taiwan since 1949

CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Chairman Mao Zedong formally proclaimed the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949.

China is currently governed as a unitary Marxist–Leninist one-party socialist republic by the CCP.

The Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, commonly called the Premier of China and sometimes also referred to as the prime minister, is the head of government of China and leader of the State Council. The premier is the second-highest ranking person in China's political system, under the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (paramount leader). Li Qing is the current Premier.

National People's Congress (NPC) is the national legislature of the People's Republic of China. With 2980 members, it is the largest parliamentary body in the world.

Mao Zedong (also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao) believed that the atom bomb was a 'paper tiger', declaring to Khrushchev that it would not matter if China lost 300 million people in a nuclear war. In 1958, Mao launched the second Five-Year Plan, known as the Great Leap Forward, a plan intended to turn China from an agrarian nation to an industrialised one. The Cultural Revolution was launched by Mao in 1966.

Deng Xiaoping served as the de facto leader of the People's Republic of China from 1978 to 1989. He became the first Chinese leader to visit the United States, meeting with President Carter at the White House in 1979.

Li Peng was the Premier of the People's Republic of China between 1988 and 1998

Zhou Enlai served as the first premier of the People's Republic of China from 1949 until his death in 1976. Zhou served under Mao Zedong and helped the Communist Party rise to power.

Leaders of the Chinese Communist Party

1921-1927 Chen Duxiu
1928-1931 Xiang Znongfa
1931-1935 Bo Gu
1935-1943 Zhang Wentian
1943-1976 Mao Zedong
1976-1981 Hua Guofeng
1981-1987 Hu Yaobang
1987-1989 Zhao Ziyang
1989-2002 Jiang Zemin
2002-2012 Hu Jintao
2012- Xi Jinping


When British rule came to an end in 1947, the subcontinent was partitioned along religious lines into two separate countries – India, with a majority of Hindus, and Pakistan, with a majority of Muslims.

The parliament of India consists of two houses: The Lok Sabha (House of the People) and the Rajya Sabha (Council of States). Lok Sabha is the lower house.

When India became a Republic in 1950, Rajendra Prasad was elected its first President by the Constituent Assembly.

Indira Gandhi served as prime minister from 1966 to 1977, and then again from 1980 until her assassination in 1984. She is the only woman to hold the office. Indira Gandhi was the only child of the first Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.

Operation Blue Star was an Indian military operation which occurred in 1984, ordered by Indira Gandhi in order to establish control over the Harmandir Sahib Complex in Amritsar. Four months after the operation, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her two Sikh bodyguards, in what is viewed as an act of vengeance.

Rajiv Gandhi took office after the death of Indira Gandhi, his mother, to become the youngest Indian prime minister. He was assassinated in 1991.

Sonia Gandhi is an Italian-born Indian politician, who served as President of the Indian National Congress party from 1998 to 2022. She is the widow of Rajiv Gandhi.

K. R. Narayanan was the tenth President of India, serving from 1997 to 2002. He was the first Dalit and the first Malayali to become President.

Manmohan Singh was the first Sikh prime minister of India.

Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian People's Party, BJP) and the Indian National Congress are the two major political parties in India. BJP is the world's largest party in terms of primary membership.

Prime Ministers of India

1950-1964 Jawaharlal Nehru
1964-1966 Lal Bahadur Shastri
1966-1977 Indira Gandhi
1977-1979 Morarji Desai
1979-1980 Charan Singh
1980-1984 Indira Gandhi
1984-1989 Rajiv Gandhi
1989-1990 V. P. Singh
1990-1991 Chandra Sekhar
1991-1996 P. V. Narasimha Rao
1996 Atal Bihari Vajpayee
1996-1997 H. D. Geve Dowda
1997-1998 Inder Kumar Gujral
1998-2004 Atal Bihari Vajpayee
2004-2014 Manmohan Singh
2014- Narendra Modi


Indonesia declared independence from Netherlands in 1945, but this was not recognised until 1949.

Sukarno was the leader of his country's struggle for independence from the Netherlands and was Indonesia's first President from 1945 to 1967. He was replaced by one of his generals, Suharto, who ran the country as a military dictatorship for 32 years.

Megawati Sukarnoputri was the first female president, serving from 2001 to 2004.

Joko Widodo is the current president.


The Iranian Revolution refers to a series of events that culminated in the overthrow of the Pahlavi dynasty in 1979. It led to the replacement of the Imperial State of Iran by the present-day Islamic Republic of Iran, as the monarchical government of Mohammed Reza Pahlavi was superseded by the theocratic government of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a religious cleric who became the first Supreme Leader.

Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei is the second and current Supreme Leader of Iran, in office since 1989.

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani served as president from 1989 until 1997.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad served as president from 2005 to 2013.

Hassan Rouhani served as president of Iran from 2013 to 2021.

Ebrahim Raisi is the current president.


The Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq gained independence from the UK in 1932. In 1958, the monarchy was overthrown, and the Iraqi Republic created. Iraq was controlled by the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party from 1968 until 2003 when Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party was removed from power. Multi-party parliamentary elections were held in 2005.

Saddam Hussein was president from 1979 to 2003. In 2003, a coalition led by the United States invaded Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein.

Nouri al-Maliki was prime minister from 2006 to 2014.

Latif Rashid is the current president.


Israeli Declaration of Independence was proclaimed on 14 May 1948 by David Ben-Gurion, the Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization.

Israel is governed by a 120-member parliament, known as the Knesset.

Chaim Weizmann was President of the Zionist Organization, and the first President of the State of Israel. He was elected in 1949 and served until his death in 1952.

Albert Einstein declined the presidency of Israel in 1952 following the death of Chaim Weizmann.

Moshe Katsav was President of Israel from 2000 to 2007. He was sentenced to seven years in prison for rape and other charges in 2011.

Isaac Herzog is the current president. The president of Israel is head of state, with limited and largely ceremonial duties.

David Ben-Gurion was born in Poland.

Golda Meir was Israel’s first woman prime minister. Born in Kiev. First Israeli passport holder.

Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing Israeli radical named Yigal Amir, who was opposed to the peace process.

Menachem Begin’s most significant achievement as Prime Minister was the signing of a peace treaty with Egypt in 1979, for which he and Anwar Sadat shared the Nobel     Peace Prize.

Ehud Barak is the joint most highly decorated soldier in Israel's history.

Shimon Peres served twice as the Prime Minister of Israel and twice as Interim Prime Minister.

Ariel Sharon was prime minister until he was incapacitated by a stroke in 2006.

Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) is the current prime minister. Netanyahu is the first Israeli prime minister born in Israel after the establishment of the state. His brother was killed in Operation Entebbe in 1976.

Likud is a major centre-right to right-wing political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon in an alliance with several right-wing parties. Likud's landslide victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had lost power.

Kadima (Hebrew: 'Forward') was a centrist and liberal political party established in 2005 by moderates from Likud.

Prime Ministers of Israel

1948-1954 David Ben-Gurion
1954-1955 Moshe Sharett
1955-1963 David Ben-Gurion
1963-1969 Levi Eshkol
1969-1974 Golda Meir
1974-1977 Yitzhak Rabin
1977-1983 Menachem Begin
1983-1984 Yitzhak Shamir
1984-1986 Shimon Peres
1986-1992 Yitzhak Shamir
1992-1995 Yitzhak Rabin
1995-1996 Shimon Peres
1996-1999 Benjamin Netanyahu
1999-2001 Ehud Barak
2001-2006 Ariel Sharon
2006-2009 Ehud Olmert
2009-2021 Benjamin Netanyahu
2021-2022 Naftali Bennett
2022 Yair Lapid
2022- Benjamin Netanyahu


Japan is a multi-party parliamentary representative democratic constitutional monarchy where the Emperor acts as the ceremonial Head of state, and the Prime Minister acts as the Head of government. Legislative power is vested in the Diet, which consists of the House of Representatives (lower house) and the House of Councillors (upper house).

The Liberal Democratic Party held power in Japan from 1955 but were defeated by the Democratic Party in 2009.

Hideki Tojo was Prime Minister of Japan from 1941 to 1944 and was responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Shinzo Abe was Prime Minister of Japan from 2012 to 2020 and was the longest-serving prime minister in Japanese history. His economic policies were known as “Abenomics”. He was assassinated while delivering a campaign speech in Nara in 2022.

Yoshihide Suga was prime minister from 2020 to 2021.

Fumio Kishida (Liberal Democratic Party) is the current prime minister.


In May 1946 the Treaty of London was ratified by the Transjordan parliament. Transjordan was raised to the status of a kingdom under the name of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, with Abdullah as its first king.

Jordan is a unitary state under a constitutional monarchy.

Bisher Al-Khasawneh is the current prime minister.


In June 1961, Kuwait became independent with the end of the British protectorate.

Kuwait is an emirate. The emir is the head of state and the Al Sabah is the ruling family.


The Republic of Kyrgyzstan declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Askar Akayev served as President of Kyrgyzstan from 1990 until being overthrown in the March 2005 Tulip Revolution.

Kurmanbek Bakiyev served as the second President of Kyrgyzstan, from 2005 to 2010.

The current president is Sadyr Japarov.


Laos gained independence from France in 1953 as a constitutional monarchy.

The monarchy was abolished in 1975.

The only legal political party is the Lao People's Revolutionary Party (LPRP). With one-party state status of Laos, the General Secretary (party leader) holds ultimate power and authority over state and government and serves as the supreme leader.


Lebanon gained independence from Free France in 1943.

The President has to be a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim, the Speaker of the Parliament a Shi’a Muslim, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Eastern Orthodox. This system, known as confessionalism, is intended to deter sectarian conflict.

The seats in the unicameral parliament are divided equally between Christians and Muslims.


Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy.

The Federation of Malaya existed from 1948 until 1963. The Federation became independent in 1957, and in 1963, Malaysia was formed when Malaya united with Singapore, North Borneo, and Sarawak.

Tunku Abdul Rahman was the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, serving from 1957 to 1970.

Anwar Ibrahim is the current prime minister.


The Maldives declared independence from the United Kingdom in 1965.

It is a presidential republic, currently led by Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.


The Mongolian Revolution of 1911 occurred when the region of Outer Mongolia declared its independence from the Manchu-led Qing China during the Xinhai Revolution. Bogd Khan was the khan from 1911 to 1924.

Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal was the leader of the Mongolian People's Republic from 1952 to 1984.

The State Great Khural is the unicameral parliament of Mongolia.


In 1948, Burma became an independent republic, named the Union of Burma, with Sao Shwe Thaik as its first President and U Nu as its first Prime Minister. Unlike most other former British colonies and overseas territories, it did not become a member of the Commonwealth.

A coup led by General Ne Win overthrew the Burmese government in 1962.

The name of the country was changed from Burma to Myanmar in 1989.

Than Shwe was the head of state of Myanmar from 1992 to 2011.

Thein Sein is a former military commander who was President of Myanmar from 2011 to 2016.

Aung San Suu Kyi served as State Counsellor of Myanmar and Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2016 to 2021.

The current president is Myint Swe, who assumed the presidency in an acting capacity through a military coup d'état in February 2021.


Nepal became a federal republic in 2008.

The Nepali Congress is a social democratic political party in Nepal and the largest party in the country.

Bidya Devi Bhandari was president from 2015 to 2023. Represented the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist)

Ram Chandra Poudel is the current president.

North Korea

North Korea is a totalitarian dictatorship run by the Kim family.

Legislative power is held by the unicameral Supreme People's Assembly (SPA).

Kim Il-Sung led North Korea from its founding in 1948 until his death in 1994. He held the posts of Premier from 1948 to 1972 and President from 1972 to 1994. He was the leader of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) from 1949 to 1994.

Kim Jong-il was the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), commonly referred to as North Korea, from 1994 to 2011

Kim Jung-un has been Supreme Leader since 2011.

Kim Yo-jong is the sister of Kim Jong-un. She is Deputy Director of the United Front Department of the Workers' Party of Korea.

Kim Yong-nam served as the President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea from 1998 to 2019 and was the ‘nominal head of state’.


Oman is an absolute monarchy led by a Sultan.

The bicameral Council of Oman consists of an upper chamber, the Council of State, and a lower chamber, the Consultative Council. Political parties are banned.


Pakistan gained independence in 1947 after the Partition of the British Indian Empire.

The exclave of East Pakistan seceded as the new country of Bangladesh in 1971.

Pakistan was suspended from the Commonwealth in 1999, following the military coup by Pervez Musharraf. The suspension ended in 2004.

The first Prime Minister of Pakistan was Liaquat Ali Khan who was appointed to the position by the first Governor-General, Muhammad Ali Jinnah in 1947.

Iskander Mirza was the last Governor-General of the Dominion of Pakistan (1955 to 1956) and the first President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (1956 to 1958).

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto served as the fourth President from 1971 to 1973, and as the ninth Prime Minister from 1973 to 1977. He was deposed in a military coup in 1977 by his appointed army chief, General Zia-ul-Haq. He was controversially tried and executed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 1979 for authorising the murder of a political opponent.

Benazir Bhutto served as the 11th and 13th prime minister of Pakistan from 1988 to 1990 and again from 1993 to 1996. She was the daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the first woman elected to head a democratic government in a Muslim-majority country.

Imran Khan served as prime minister from 2018 to 2022.

Arif Alvi is the current president.


In 1946, the Philippines was officially recognized by the United States as an independent nation through the Treaty of Manila.

The Philippines is a unitary presidential republic. The bicameral Congress is composed of the Senate, serving as the upper house, and the House of Representatives.

Malacanang Palace is the official residence of the president of the Philippines.

Ferdinand Marcos was president from 1965 to 1986. He ruled under martial law from 1972 until 1981 and kept most of his martial law powers until he was deposed in 1986.

Imelda Marcos is the widow of Ferdinand Marcos best known for her collection of some three thousand pairs of shoes.

Ferdinand Marcos was succeeded by Corozon Aquino, the first woman to hold that office, and the first female president in Asia. Her husband, Benigno Aquino, was assassinated in 1983 upon returning to the Philippines from exile in the United States.

Joseph Estrada was the 13th President of the Philippines, serving from 1998 to 2001. He was peacefully overthrown by the Second People Power Revolution after his aborted impeachment trial in the Senate.

Benigno Aquino III was the son of assassinated politician Benigno Aquino Jr. and Corazon Aquino.

Rodrigo Duterte’s domestic policy focused on combating the illegal drug trade by initiating the controversial war on drugs.

Bongbong Marcos is the son of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos.

Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is a group seeking an autonomous region of the Moro people in the Philippines.

Recent presidents of the Philippines

1965-1986 Ferdinand Marcos
1986-1992 Corazon Aquino
1992-1998 Fidel Ramos
1998-2001 Joseph Estrada
2001-2010 Gloria Arroyo
2010-2016 Benigno Aquino III
2016-2022 Rodrigo Duterte
2022- Bongbong Marcos


Qatar has been ruled as a hereditary monarchy by the House of Thani since Mohammed bin Thani signed a treaty with the British in 1868 that recognised its separate status. Following Ottoman rule, Qatar became a British protectorate in 1916, and gained independence in 1971.

Qatari law does not permit the establishment of political bodies.

Saudi Arabia

In 1932, the two kingdoms of the Hejaz and Nejd were united as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy.


Singapore separated from Malaysia to become an independent and sovereign state in 1965.

Singapore is a unitary parliamentary republic. The People’s Action Party (PAP) has been the ruling party in Singapore since 1959.

The Istana is the official residence and office of the president of Singapore.

Lee Kuan Yew served as the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore from 1959 to 1990.

Goh Chok Tong was prime minister from 1990 to 2004.

Lee Hsien Loong has been prime minister since 2004. Son of Lee Kuan Yew.

South Korea

The first Republic of Korea was the government of South Korea from 1948 to 1960.

Blue House is a public park that formerly served as the executive office and official residence of the president of South Korea from 1948 to 2022.

Syngman Rhee was the first president of South Korea, serving from 1948 to 1960.

Park Chung-hee was an army general who served as President of South Korea from 1961 until his assassination in 1979.

Park Geun-hye was president from 2013 to 2017 when she was impeached. Park was the first woman to be elected president of South Korea, and also the first female president popularly elected as head of state in East Asia. Daughter of Park Chung-hee.

Moon Jae-in was president from 2017 to 2022.

Yoon Suk-yeol is the current president.

Sri Lanka

Ceylon gained independence in 1948. D. S. Senanayake was the first Prime Minister of Ceylon. In 1972, the country became a republic named Sri Lanka, repudiating its dominion status.

Sri Lanka is the oldest democracy in Asia.

Following the parliamentary election in 1960, Sirimavo Bandaranaike became the prime minister and the world's first elected female head of government.

Ranasinghe Premadasa was the third President of Sri Lanka, serving from 1989 to 1993. He was assassinated in Colombo in a suicide bombing.

Maithripala Sirisena was prime minster from 2015 to 2019.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa was prime minister from 2019 to 2022.

Ranil Wickremesinghe is the current prime minister.


Syria gained independence from France in 1945. The post-independence period was tumultuous, with multiple military coups.

Hafez al-Assad was president of Syria from 1971 to 2000. He was succeeded by his son, current president Bashar al-Assad.

The country is run as a dynastic dictatorship tightly controlled by an Alawite-dominated elite.


The People's Republic of China (PRC) claims that Taiwan is Chinese territory and that the PRC replaced the ROC government in 1949, becoming the sole legal government of China.

The Kuomintang of China (KMT), also often translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party, is a political party in the Republic of China, located in Taiwan, and is currently the largest political party in terms of seats in the Legislative Yuan.

The Legislative Yuan is the legislative body of the Republic of China, which administers Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu Islands.

Chiang Kai-shek served as Generalissimo of the national government of the Republic of China from 1928 until his death in 1975, taking control of the Kuomintang.

Tsai Ing-wen has served as the president of Taiwan since 2016. A member of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Tsai is the first female president of Taiwan.


The Republic of Tajikistan declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

A civil war was fought almost immediately after independence, lasting from 1992 to 1997. Since the end of the war, newly established political stability and foreign aid have allowed the country's economy to grow. The country has been led by President Emomali Rahmon, who rules an authoritarian regime, since 1994.


Thailand is nominally a parliamentary constitutional monarchy but alternates between periods of democracy and military rule.

Thaksin Shinawatra was prime minister from 2001 to 2006. Brother of Yingluck Shinawatra.

Yingluck Shinawatra was prime minister from 2011 to 2014. She was Thailand's first female prime minister.

Prayut Chan-o-cha has served as Prime Minister of Thailand since he seized power in a military coup in 2014.


East Timor was a Portuguese colony until 1975. On 20 May 2002, as Timor-Leste, it became the first new sovereign state of the 21st century.

The national government runs on a semi-presidential system, with the popularly elected president sharing power with a prime minister.

Jose Ramos-Horta was prime minister from 2007 to 2012, and has served as president since May 2022. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.


The Republic of Turkmenistan declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Saparmyrat Niyazov ruled Turkmenistan as a dictator from 1985 until his death in 2006. He was first secretary of the Turkmen Communist Party from 1985 until 1991 and supported the 1991 Soviet coup attempt. His self-given title was “Turkmenbashy”, meaning “Head of the Turkmen”. In 1999 he was declared President for Life.

Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow served as the 2nd President of Turkmenistan from 2007 to 2022, when he entered into a power-sharing arrangement with his son, Serdar, the current president. He heads an authoritarian regime and is the subject of a cult of personality.

Serdar Berdimuhamedow won a snap election in 2022 that was deemed as neither free nor fair.

United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is an authoritarian federal monarchy formed from a federation of seven emirates, formerly known as the Trucial States. The UAE gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1971.

Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan became president in 2022. He is the third son of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who was the first president of the UAE and the ruler of Abu Dhabi until his death in 2004.


The Republic of Uzbekistan declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Islam Karimov was the leader of Uzbekistan and its predecessor state, the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic, from 1989 until his death in 2016.

Shavkat Mirziyoyev has served as President of Uzbekistan since 2016. Previously he was the Prime Minister of Uzbekistan from 2003 to 2016.


On 2 July 1976, North and South Vietnam were merged to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam under the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV).

Vietnam is a unitary Marxist-Leninist one-party socialist republic.

Ngo Dinh Diem was the first president of South Vietnam, from 1955 to 1963. He was assassinated during a coup d’etat.

Ho Chi Minh was prime minister (1946–55) and president (1945–69) of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam).

Le Duc Tho was Head of the Central Organizing Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam from 1976 to 1982.

Nguyen Phu Trọng has served as the General Secretary of the CPV, the country's highest political position, since 2011.


Yemeni unification took place in 1990, when the area of the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (also known as South Yemen) was united with the Yemen Arab Republic (also known as North Yemen), forming the Republic of Yemen.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh was the first president of the new republic until his resignation in 2012 in the wake of the Arab Spring. Since 2011, Yemen has been in a state of political crisis.



Albania declared independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912.

Albania is a unitary parliamentary constitutional republic.

The two major parties are the Socialist Party of Albania (PS) and the Democratic Party of Albania (PD).

Zog I first served as Prime Minister of Albania (1922–1924), then as President (1925–1928), and finally as King (1928–1939). He lived in England during the Second World War but was barred from returning to Albania by Enver Hoxha's communist regime.

Enver Hoxha was the Stalinist authoritarian ruler of Albania from 1944 until his death in 1985. He was prime minister from 1944 to 1954.

Edi Rama has been prime minister since 2013.


Andorra is a parliamentary co-principality with the Bishop of Urgell and the president of France as co-princes.

The Parliament of Andorra is known as the General Council.


The Republic of Armenia declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Armenia is a unitary parliamentary republic.

Levon Ter-Petrosyan served as the first president from 1991 to 1998.

Armen Sarkissian served as president from 2018 to 2022.


Austria is a federal parliamentary republic.

Austria has a bicameral parliament, consisting of the Nationalrat (lower house) and the Bundesrat (upper house).

The head of the Federal Government is the Federal Chancellor, who is selected by the President.

Sebastian Kurz was elected as chancellor in 2017, at the age of 31. Kurz was the youngest chancellor in Austrian history as well as the youngest head of government in the world, at the time.

The current chancellor is Karl Nehammer, who is a member of the Austrian People’s Party (OPV).


The Republic of Azerbaijan declared independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991.

Azerbaijan is a unitary semi-presidential republic.

Prior to 2009, the term of office of President was five years, with a maximum of two terms. A referendum in 2009 removed the limit on the number of terms, and in 2016, another referendum increased the term to seven years.

Ayaz Mutalibov was the last leader of Soviet Azerbaijan, and first President of Azerbaijan, from 1990 until 1992.

Hedyar Aliyev served as president from 1993 to 2003.

Ilham Aliyev has been president of Azerbaijan since 2003. He is the son of Hedyar Aliyev.


The Republic of Belarus declared independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991.

Following the adoption of a new constitution in 1994, Alexander Lukashenko was elected Belarus's first president in the country's first and only free election after independence, serving as president ever since. Lukashenko heads a highly centralized authoritarian government.

In 2000, Belarus and Russia signed a treaty for greater cooperation.


Belgium is a federal constitutional monarchy.

The bicameral parliament is composed of a Senate and a Chamber of Representatives.

Herman Van Rompuy served as the first permanent president of the European Council from 2009 to 2014.

Charles Michel has served as the president of the European Council since 2019.

Sophia Wilmes was the first female prime minister.

The Alexander De Croo government was announced 652 days after the previous one collapsed.

Petra Da Sutter is the current deputy prime minister. She is the first transgender minister in Europe.

Recent prime ministers of Belgium

1999-2008 Guy Verhofstadt
2008 Yves Leterme
2008-2009 Herman Van Rompuy
2009-2011 Yves Leterme
2011-2014 Elio Di Rupo
2014-2019 Charles Michel
2019-2020 Sophie Wilmes
2020- Alexander De Croo

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence in 1992 following the breakup of Yugoslavia.

The country is divided into two entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska.

Radovan Karadzic served as the president of Republika Srpska during the Bosnian War, and was later convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Milorad Dodik has served as the president of Republika Srpska since November 2022.


Bulgaria declared independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1908.

In 1946 the monarchy in Bulgaria was overthrown and Simeon II went into exile. Fifty-five years later, Simeon resumed the role of leader of the nation upon taking office as Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria from 2001 until 2005.

Georgi Dimitrov was the first communist leader of Bulgaria from 1946 to 1949.

Todor Zhivkov was a communist statesman who served as the de facto leader of the People's Republic of Bulgaria (PRB) from 1954 until 1989.

Bulgaria became a member of NATO in 2004 and joined the European Union in 2007.

Rumen Radev has served as president of Bulgaria since 2017.


Croatia has a unicameral parliament known as the Sabor.

Franjo Tudman became the first president of Croatia and served as president from 1990 until his death in 1999.

Zoran Milanovic has been president since 2020.

Croatia joined NATO in 2009 and the European Union in 2013.


Cyprus became independent from the United Kingdom in 1960.

The House of Representatives is the unicameral legislature of the Republic of Cyprus. 30% of seats are allocated to Turkish Cypriots, but these have been vacant since 1964.

Makarios III was a Greek archbishop and the first President of the Republic of Cyprus, serving from 1960 to 1974 and from 1974 to 1977.

The Cyprus problem is an ongoing dispute between Greek Cypriots in the south and Turkish Cypriots in the north.

Nikos Christodoulides is the current president.

Cyprus joined the European Union in 2004.

Czech Republic

The Velvet Revolution was a non-violent transition of power in what was then Czechoslovakia, occurring in 1989. In June 1990, Czechoslovakia held its first democratic elections.

Czech Republic has a bicameral parliament, with the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.

Vaclav Havel served as the last president of Czechoslovakia from 1989 until the dissolution of Czechoslovakia on 31 December 1992. He was a playwright and former dissident.

Presidents of the Czech Republic

1993-2003 Vaclav Havel
2003-2013 Vaclav Klaus
2013-2023 Milos Zeman
2023- Petr Pavel


Denmark is a constitutional monarchy, with a representative parliamentary system.

The Danish parliament is unicameral and called the Folketing.

Christiansborg Palace (also known by its nickname, "Borgen" – Danish for "the castle") has been the domicile of parliament since 1849.

In 2009, Lars Rasmussen succeeded Anders Fogh Rasmussen as Prime Minister following the latter's appointment as Secretary General of NATO.

Helle Thorning-Schmidt was the first female Prime Minister, serving from 2011 to 2015.

Mette Fredericksen has served as Prime Minister since 2019, and Leader of the Social Democrats since 2015.


The Republic of Estonia declared independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991.

The Estonian parliament is unicameral and is called the Riigikogu. It is housed in Toompea Castle.

Kaja Kallas is the first female prime minister and has served since 2021.


The autonomous Grand Principality (or Grand Duchy) was the first European nation to allow all women to both vote and run for parliament, in 1906.

The Finnish Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Parliament of Finland in 1917. It declared Finland an independent nation, ending its autonomy within Russia as the Grand Principality of Finland.

The Eduskunta (in Finnish), or the Riksdag (in Swedish), is the Parliament of Finland.

Martti Ahtisaari was president of Finland from 1994 to 2000. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008.

Sanna Marin (Social Democratic Party) is the third female prime minister of Finland, and has served since 2019.


The politics of France take place within the framework of a semi-presidential system determined by the French Constitution of the Fifth Republic. Parliament comprises the National Assembly (lower house) and the Senate (upper house).

The president of France also serves as a co-prince of Andorra.

In 2000, a referendum shortened the presidential term from seven years to five years. A maximum of two consecutive terms was imposed after the 2008 constitutional reform.

The official residence and office of the president is the Élysée Palace in Paris.

Charles De Gaulle founded the Fifth Republic in 1958.

Francois Mitterrand was the first socialist French president. He served for 14 years, the longest holder of that position in the history of France.

Georges Pompidou was Prime Minister from 1962 to 1968, holding the longest tenure in this position. He died in office in 1974.

Jacques Chirac served as Prime Minister from 1974 to 1976 and from 1986 to 1988 (making him the only person to hold the position of Prime Minister twice under the Fifth Republic), and as Mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995.

Edith Cresson was the first female Prime Minister, serving from 1991 to 1992.

Jean-Pierre Raffarin served as the Prime Minister from 2002 to 2005, resigning after France's rejection of the referendum on the European Union draft constitution.

Elisabeth Borne has served as Prime Minister of France since May 2022.

Hotel Matignon is the official residence of the prime minister.

Renaissance, or En Marche ! is a liberal and centrist political party in France. The party was founded in 2016 by Emmanuel Macron, a former Minister of the Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs, who was later elected president in the 2017 French presidential election.

Jean-Marie Le Pen was the first leader of the National Front and the undisputed centre of the party from its formation in 1972 until his resignation in 2011. Marine Le Pen, Jean-Marie’s daughter, was elected as the current leader. The party is now known as National Rally.

Presidents of the French Fifth Republic

1959-1969 Charles de Gaulle
1969-1974 Georges Pompidou
1974-1981 Valery Giscard d’Estaing
1981-1995 Francois Mitterand
1995-2007 Jacques Chirac
2007-2012 Nicolas Sarkozy
2012-2017 Francois Hollande
2017- Emmanuel Macron


Georgia declared independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991.

Eduard Shevardnadze was the first elected president, in 1992. He was forced to retire in 2003 because of the Rose Revolution.

Mikheil Saakashvili was president of Georgia from 2004 to 2013.

Salome Zourabichvili is the first woman to be elected as Georgia's president, a position she has held since 2018.


German reunification took place on 3 October 1990. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 became a symbol of the Fall of Communism and the Dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Germany is a federal parliamentary republic, and federal legislative power is vested in the Bundestag (the parliament of Germany) and the Bundesrat (the representative body of the Lander, Germany's regional states). There is a multi-party system that, since 1949, has been dominated by the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD).

The Reichstag is a historic government building on Platz der Republik in Berlin that has been the seat of the German Bundestag since 1999.

The Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) was the governing party of the German Democratic Republic from its formation in 1949 until the elections of March 1990.

Volkskammer was the unicameral legislature of the German Democratic Republic.

Ostpolitik was the normalization of relations between West Germany and East Germany, beginning in 1969.

Walter Ulbricht was an East German communist politician, and First Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party from 1950 to 1971.

Erich Honecker led the German Democratic Republic from 1971 until shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall in October 1989.

Willy Brandt was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1971 for his efforts to strengthen cooperation in western Europe through the EEC.

Helmut Kohl was Chancellor of West Germany between 1982 and 1990 and of a reunited Germany between 1990 and 1998, and the chairman of the Christian Democratic Union from 1973 to 1998.

Angela Merkel was Chancellor of Germany from 2005 until 2021. She was the first woman to hold the office, and was also Leader of the Christian Democratic Union from 2000 to 2018.

After Olaf Scholz was elected chancellor in 2021 the SPD became the leading party of the federal government.

Alternative for Germany is a right-wing populist and Eurosceptic political party in Germany. Alice Weidel is the leader of the party.

Chancellors of the Federal Republic of Germany

1949-1963 Konrad Adenauer
1963-1966 Ludwig Erhard
1966-1969 Kurt Georg Kiesinger
1969-1974 Willy Brandt
1974-1982 Helmut Schmidt
1982-1998 Helmut Kohl
1998-2005 Gerhard Schroder
2005-2021 Angela Merkel
2021- Olaf Scholz


The Hellenic Parliament is located in the Old Royal Palace, overlooking Syntagma Square in Athens.

Between the restoration of democracy in 1974 and the government-debt crisis in 2009 the party system in Greece was dominated by the liberal-conservative New Democracy (ND) and the social-democratic Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK).

Founded in 2004, Syriza is a left-wing party and the second largest party in the Hellenic Parliament. Party chairman Alexis Tsipras served as Prime Minister of Greece from 2015 to 2019.

Yanis Varoufakis was Minister of Finance in 2019. He tried to renegotiate Greece's debt and significantly curtail the austerity measures which had led to the longest recession in post-war global history.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis has been prime minister since 2019.


Imre Nagy served as Chairman of the Council of Ministers (de facto Prime Minister) of the Hungarian People's Republic from 1953 to 1955. In 1956 Nagy became leader of the Hungarian Revolution against the Soviet-backed government, for which he was sentenced to death and executed two years later.

Janos Kadar was General Secretary of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party from 1958 to 1988.

Viktor Orban has served as prime minister of Hungary since 2010, previously holding the office from 1998 to 2002. He is the leader of the Fidesz right-wing populist political party.

The Movement for a Better Hungary, commonly known as Jobbik, is a Hungarian radical nationalist political party. After the Hungarian parliamentary elections in 2018, the party secured 19% of the total votes, making it Hungary's second-largest party in the National Assembly.


Althing is the parliament of Iceland. Founded in 930, It is the oldest parliament in Europe and claims to be the longest running parliament in the world. The unicameral parliament has 63 members.

Iceland formally became a republic (independent from Denmark) in 1944, with Sveinn Bjornsson as the first president.

Vigdís Finnbogadottir was elected as president in 1980, becoming the world's first directly elected female head of state.

Johanna Siguroardottir became Iceland's first female Prime Minister and the world's first openly lesbian head of government in 2009.

Olafur Ragnar Grimsson was president from 1996 to 2016.

Guoni Th. Johannesson has been president since 2016.

Katrín Jakobsdottir has served as the prime minister since 2017.


The Oireachtas is the national parliament of Ireland. The Oireachtas consists of: The President of Ireland and the two Houses of the Oireachtas – Dail Eireann (Lower house) and Seanad Eireann (Upper house).

Leinster House is the building housing the Oireachtas.

A member of the Dail is known as a Teachta Dala, TD or Deputy.

The Tanaiste is the deputy head of the government.

Sinn Fein (“[We] Ourselves”) was founded by Arthur Griffith in 1905. During the Troubles, Sinn Fein was associated with the Provisional Irish Republican Army. Mary Lou McDonald is the current president of Sinn Fein.

Fianna Fail (“Soldiers of Destiny”) was founded in 1926 by Eamon de Valera and his supporters after they split from Sinn Fein.

Fine Gael (“Family of the Irish”) was founded in 1933. Its origins lie in the struggle for Irish independence and the pro-Treaty side in the Irish Civil War.

The Republic of Ireland Act 1948 is an Act of the Oireachtas which declared that the description of Ireland was to be the Republic of Ireland.

The Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985 was signed at Hillsborough Castle by Margaret Thatcher and Garret FitzGerald.

The Good Friday Agreement of 1998 was signed by Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern. The talks were chaired by United States special envoy George J. Mitchell.

W.T. Cosgrave never officially held the office of Taoiseach, but he is recognised to have been the first Taoiseach due to having been the Free State's first head of government. His son, Liam, served as Taoiseach from 1973 to 1977.

Eamon de Valera had a leading role in introducing the 1937 Constitution of Ireland.

Erskine Hamilton Childers was the son of Robert Erskine Childers, a leading Irish republican and author of the espionage thriller The Riddle of the Sands.

Mary Robinson served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997 to 2002.

Mary McAleese was the first person born in Northern Ireland to be elected as the President of the Irish Republic. She was the first woman in the world to succeed another woman as president.

Leo Varadkar is the current president of Ireland and the leader of Fine Gael.

Micheal Martin the current Tanaiste and the leader of Fianna Fail.

List of Taoisigh of Ireland

1922-1932 W. T. Cosgrave
1932-1948 Eamon de Valera
1948-1951 John A. Costello
1951-1954 Eamon de Valera
1954-1957 John A. Costello
1957-1959 Eamon de Valera
1959-1966 Sean Lemass
1966-1973 Jack Lynch
1973-1977 Liam Cosgrave
1977-1979 Jack Lynch
1979-1981 Charles Haughey
1981-1982 Garret FitzGerald
1982 Charles Haughey
1982-1987 Garret FitzGerald
1987-1992 Charles Haughey
1992-1994 Albert Reynolds
1994-1997 John Bruton
1997-2008 Bertie Ahern
2008-2011 Brian Cowen
2011-2017 Enda Kenny
2017-2020 Leo Varadkar
2020-2022 Micheal Martin
2022- Leo Varadkar

List of presidents of Ireland

1938-1945 Douglas Hyde
1945-1959 Sean T. O’Kelly
1959-1973 Eamon de Valera
1973-1974 Erskine Hamilton Childers
1974-1976 Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh
1976-1990 Patrick Hillery
1990-1997 Mary Robinson
1997-2011 Mary McAleese
2011- Michael D. Higgins


Italy has been a democratic republic since 1946, when the monarchy was abolished by popular referendum.

Italy has a bicameral parliament. The two houses, the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic, have the same powers.

Alcide De Gasperi founded the Christian Democracy party and served as prime minister of Italy in eight successive coalition governments from 1945 to 1953.

Giulio Andreotti served as Prime Minister of Italy from 1972 to 1973, from 1976 to 1979, and from 1989 to 1992. He was elected seven times.

Former prime minister Aldo Moro was kidnapped and murdered by the Red Brigades in 1978.

Silvio Berlusconi was Prime Minister in four governments for nine years in total, making him the longest-serving post-war Prime Minister of Italy.

Romano Prodi served two terms as Prime Minister of Italy. He was also the tenth President of the European Commission, serving from 1999 to 2004.

Giorgia Meloni is the first female prime minister. She has led the right-wing Brothers of Italy (FdI, Fratelli d'Italia) political party since 2014.

Forza Italia (Forward Italy) was founded in 2013 and is led by Silvio Berlusconi.

Lega Nord (Northern League) is a federalist and regionalist political party in Italy. At times it has advocated secession of the North, which it calls Padania. It was rebranded as League in 2018.

Alessandra Mussolini, the granddaughter of Benito Mussolini, formed the Social Action party, and is now a Member of the European Parliament.

Sergio Mattarella has been president of Italy since 2015.

Recent prime ministers of Italy

2001-2006 Silvio Berlusconi
2006-2008 Romano Prodi
2008-2011 Silvio Berlusconi
2011-2013 Mario Monti
2013-2014 Enrico Letta
2014-2016 Matteo Renzi
2016-2018 Paulo Gentiloni
2018-2021 Giuseppe Conte
2021-2022 Mario Draghi
2022- Giorgia Meloni


The Republic of Kazakhstan declared independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991.

The Mäjilis is the lower house of the bicameral parliament.

Nursultan Nazarbayev led the country from 1991 to 2019 and ruled in an authoritarian manner.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev succeeded Nursultan Nazarbayev. His first official act was to rename the capital after his predecessor.


Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, and has since gained diplomatic recognition as a sovereign state by 101 member states of the United Nations. Serbia does not officially recognise Kosovo as a sovereign state.

The Assembly of Kosovo has 120 members elected for a four-year term.


The Republic of Latvia declared independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991.

The 100-seat unicameral Latvian parliament, the Saeima, is elected by direct popular vote every four years.

Indulis Emsis became Prime Minister of Latvia in 2004, the first member of any Green Party to lead a country.

Vaira Viķe-Freiberga was the first female President of Latvia, serving from 1999 to 2007.

Krisjanis Karins has served as the Prime Minister of Latvia since 2019.


Liechtenstein is a semi-constitutional monarchy headed by the prince of Liechtenstein.

The Landtag is unicameral parliament and has 25 members.

In 1984, Liechtenstein became the last country in Europe to grant women the right to vote.


On 11 March 1990, the Supreme Council announced the restoration of Lithuania's independence. Lithuania became the first Soviet-occupied state to announce the restitution of independence.

The unicameral parliament of Lithuania is the Seimas.

Dalia Grybauskaite (2009–2019) was the first female President of Lithuania and the first president to be re-elected for a second consecutive term.

Ingrida Simonyte has been prime minister since 2019.


Luxembourg is a constitutional monarchy headed by the grand duke.

Legislative power is vested in the Chamber of Deputies, a unicameral legislature of 60 members.

Jacques Santer was Prime Minister of Luxembourg from 1984 to 1995 and President of the European Commission from 1995 to 1999.

Jean-Claude Juncker served as Prime Minister of Luxembourg from 1995 to 2013 and President of the European Commission from 2014 to 2019.

Xavier Bettel has served as Prime Minister since 2013.


The Crown Colony of Malta became independent from the United Kingdom as the State of Malta in 1964. Malta declared itself a republic in 1974.

Malta is a republic whose parliamentary system and public administration are closely modelled on the Westminster system. The unicameral House of Representatives is made up of 65 members.

The official office of the president is the Grandmaster's Palace in Valletta.

Dom Mintoff was Prime Minister of Malta from 1955 to 1958, when Malta was still a British colony, and again, following independence, from 1971 to 1984.

George Vella has served as president since 2019.


The Republic of Moldova declared independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991.

The strip of Moldovan territory on the east bank of the Dniester has been under the de facto control of the breakaway government of Transnistria since 1990.

Moldova is a unitary parliamentary representative democratic republic.


Monaco is governed under a form of constitutional monarchy.

The prime minister, who is the head of government, can be either a Monegasque or a French citizen.


The Republic of Montenegro was a constituent federated state of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and then Serbia and Montenegro between 1992 and 2006. The declaration of independence of Montenegro in 2006 ended the ex-Yugoslav state.

The Parliament of Montenegro is a unicameral legislative body.


The Netherlands has been a parliamentary democracy since 1848.

The lower and upper houses of the States General meet in the Binnenhof, in The Hague.

No single party has held a majority in parliament since the 19th century.

The Netherlands was the first country to legalise same-sex marriage, in 2001.

Mark Rutte is leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD).

List of recent prime ministers of the Netherlands

1973-1977 Joop den Uyl
1977-1982 Dries van Agt
1982-1994 Ruud Lubbers
1994-2002 Wim Kok
2002-2010 Jan Peter Balkenede
2010- Mark Rutte

North Macedonia

Macedonia declared independence in 1991 following the breakup of Yugoslavia.

The Prespa agreement of 2018 saw the country change its name to the Republic of North Macedonia following a dispute with Greece about the use of the name Macedonia.

North Macedonia has a unicameral parliament.


Norway is a constitutional monarchy.

Storting (Grand Assembly) is the parliament of Norway. It was first constituted at Eidsvoll in 1814.

Vidkun Quisling was a Nazi collaborator who nominally headed the government of Norway during the country's occupation by Nazi Germany during World War II. He was executed by firing squad in October 1945.

Jens Stoltenberg served two terms as prime minister of Norway (2000–2001, and 2005–2013) and has been serving as the Secretary General of NATO since 2014.

Gro Harlem Brundtland served three terms as prime minister (1981, 1986–1989, and 1990–1996) and also served as the director-general of the World Health Organization from 1998 to 2003.

Erna Solberg served as prime minister from 2013 to 2021 and has been Leader of the Conservative Party since 2004.

Jonas Gahr Store has served as prime minister since 2021 and has been Leader of the Labour Party since 2014.


Wojciech Jaruzelski was a military general, politician and de facto leader of the Polish People's Republic from 1981 until 1989.

From 1989 through 1991, Poland engaged in a democratic transition which put an end to the Polish People's Republic and led to the foundation of a democratic government, known as the Third Polish Republic.

Lech Walesa, who founded the Solidarity trade union at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk, served as the President of Poland between 1990 and 1995. He was the first-ever Polish President elected by popular vote.

Lech Kaczynski served as the President of Poland from 2005 until 2010. In 2006, Kaczynski appointed his identical twin brother Jaroslaw as Prime Minister. Lech Kaczynski died in an air crash in Russian in 2010.

Donald Tusk was Prime Minister of Poland from 2007 to 2014. He resigned to become President of the European Council, a position he held until 2019.

The Sejm is the lower house of the bicameral parliament.

Law and Justice is the largest political party in the Polish parliament. It was founded by the Kaczynski brothers in 2001.

Andrzej Duda has served as president since 2015.

Mateusz Morawiecki has served as prime minister since 2017.


The Assembly of the Republic is the national parliament of Portugal. It is housed in Sao Bento Palace in Lisbon.

Belem Palace is the official residence of the president.

Antonio Salazar was the President of the Council of Ministers of Portugal (Prime Minister) and the de facto dictator of the Portuguese Republic from 1932 to 1968.

The Carnation Revolution was a military coup that overthrew the authoritarian Estado Novo regime on 25 April 1974 in Lisbon. It resulted in the Portuguese transition to democracy.

Mario Soares became Portugal’s first democratically elected prime minister in 1976.

Anibal Silva was President of Portugal from 2006 to 2016. He was previously Prime Minister of Portugal from 1985 to 1995. His tenure of ten years was the longest of any Prime Minister since Antonio Salazar.

Antonio Guterres served as prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002. Since 2017, he has served as secretary-general of the United Nations.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has been president since 2016.

Antonio Costa has been prime minister since 2015.


Romania is a semi-presidential republic.

The Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest is the heaviest building in the world, weighing around 4 million tonnes, and is also the second largest administrative building in the world, behind the Pentagon.

King Michael I of Romania was forced to abdicate by the communists in December 1947, simultaneously with the Soviet occupation of the country.

Ana Pauker became the world's first female foreign minister when entering office in 1947.

Nicolae Ceausescu ruled Romania as its communist leader from 1965 until 1989. He was the first President of Romania, serving from 1974 to 1989. He was overthrown in the Romanian Revolution and executed by firing squad on 25 December 1989.

Ion Iliescu served as President of Romania from 1989 until 1996 and from 2000 until 2004.

Nicolae Ciuca has served as prime minister since 2021.

Klaus Iohannis has served as president since 2014.


According to the Constitution of Russia, the country is a federation and semi-presidential republic, wherein the President is the head of state and the Prime Minister is the head of government. The Russian Federation is fundamentally structured as a multi-party representative democracy.

The State Duma is the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia, while the upper house is the Federation Council. The State Duma replaced the Supreme Soviet as a result of the new constitution introduced by Boris Yeltsin in the aftermath of the Russian constitutional crisis of 1993.

The Politburo was formed in 1919. It was known as the Presidium between 1952 and 1966. The existence of the Politburo ended in 1991.

Nikita Khrushchev was First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964 and Chairman of the Council of Ministers from 1958 to 1964. He was removed from power by his party colleagues in 1964, with Alexei Kosygin and Leonid Brezhnev becoming Premier and First Secretary respectively.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, Andrei Gromyko was Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Leonid Brezhnev was the General Secretary of the Central Committee (CC) of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), presiding over the country from 1964 until his death in 1982.

Yuri Andropov served as the Soviet ambassador to Hungary from 1954 to 1957, during which time he was involved in the suppression of the 1956 Hungarian Uprising.

Konstantin Chernenko was the last leader buried in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis.

Mikhail Gorbachev withdrew troops from the Soviet-Afghan War and introduced the policies of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring).

On 19 August 1991 Communist hard-liners, having taken Mikhail Gorbachev hostage, sent tanks into Moscow. They were stopped by Boris Yeltsin, leading to the fall of the Soviet Union.

Boris Yeltsin was the first popularly elected leader in Russian history.

In 2008, Vladimir Putin was barred from a third consecutive term by the Constitution, so he was appointed as prime minister. This has now been overturned, and Putin is now serving a six-year term as president.

President Vladimir Putin nominated Mikhail Mishustin to become prime minister in 2020, following the resignation of Dmitry Medvedev and the rest of the government to allow for sweeping constitutional changes.

Leaders of the Soviet Union and Russia

1917-1924 Vladimir Lenin
1924-1953 Joseph Stalin
1953 Georgy Malenkov
1953-1964 Nikita Khrushchev
1964-1982 Leonid Brezhnev
1982-1984 Yuri Andropov
1984-1985 Konstantin Chernenko
1985-1991 Mikhail Gorbachev
1991-1999 Boris Yeltsin
1999-2008 Vladimir Putin
2008-2012 Dmitry Medvedev
2012- Vladimir Putin

San Marino

The Captains Regent are the two heads of state of San Marino. They are elected every six months by the Grand and General Council, which is the country's parliament.


Serbia is a parliamentary republic. The current constitution was adopted in 2006 in the aftermath of the Montenegro independence referendum.

The Republic of Montenegro was a constituent federated state of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and then Serbia and Montenegro between 1992 and 2006.

Serbia does not officially recognise Kosovo as a sovereign state.

Slobadan Milosevic was the President of Serbia from 1989 to 1997 and President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1997 to 2000 when his government was overthrown.

Zoran Dindic served as prime minister from 2001 until his assassination in 2003.

Ana Brnabic has served as the prime minister since 2017. She is the first woman and first openly gay person to hold the office.


Slovakia is a parliamentary democratic republic.

In 1989, the Velvet Revolution peacefully ended the Communist rule in Czechoslovakia. Slovakia became an independent state on 1 January 1993 after the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia, sometimes known as the Velvet Divorce.

Zuzana Caputova has been president since 2019.

Eduard Heger has been prime minister since 2021.


Slovenia became one of the founders of the Non-Aligned Movement in 1961.

In June 1991, Slovenia became the first republic to split from Yugoslavia and become an independent sovereign state.

Slovenia was the first post-Communist country to hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, for the first six months of 2008.

Borut Pahor served as President of Slovenia from 2012 to 2022.  He previously served as Prime Minister of Slovenia from 2008 to 2012. Known as “President Barbie” for his use of Instagram.

Natasa Pirc Musar has served as president since December 2022.


Spain is a constitutional monarchy. With Franco's death in November 1975, Juan Carlos succeeded to the position of King of Spain and head of state.

The Cortes Generales is the legislature of Spain. It is a bicameral parliament, composed of the Congress of Deputies (the lower house) and the Senate (the upper house).

Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) has been in government longer than any other political party in modern democratic Spain.

Vox is a far-right political party, founded in 2013.

Carlos Arias Navarro was a moderate leader in the last phase of Francoism.

List of prime ministers of the Kingdom of Spain

1975-1976 Carlos Arias Navarro
1976-1981 Adolfo Suarez
1981-1982 Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo
1982-1996 Felipe Gonzalez
1996-2004 Jose María Aznar
2004-2011 Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero
2011-2018 Mariano Rajoy
2018- Pedro Sanchez


Sweden is a constitutional monarchy.

Legislative power is vested in the unicameral Riksdag with 349 members. Most governments have been dominated by the Social Democrats.

Rosenbad, in Stockholm, has been the seat of the Government since 1981.

Tage Erlander was prime minister from 1949 to 1969.

Olof Palme was prime minister from 1969 to 1976 and from 1982 until his death in 1986. He was assassinated in Stockholm while walking home from a cinema with his wife.

Fredrik Reinfeldt was prime minister from 2006 to 2014.

Stefan Lofven was prime minister from 2014 to 2021.

Magdalena Andersson was Sweden’s first female prime minister, serving from November 2021 to October 2022. After her coalition lost its majority in the 2022 Swedish general election, Andersson announced her intention to resign as prime minister. She was succeeded by Ulf Kristersson on 18 October 2022.


The Swiss Parliament consists of two houses: the Council of States and the National Council. When both houses are in joint session, they are known collectively as the Federal Assembly.

The Federal Council is the seven-member executive council which constitutes the federal government of Switzerland and serves as the Swiss collective head of state.

Switzerland is the closest state in the world to a direct democracy. For any change in the constitution, a referendum is mandatory (mandatory referendum); for any change in a law, a referendum can be requested (optional referendum).


Turkey is a presidential republic with a unicameral parliament.

Turkey was declared a republic in 1923.

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was the founding father of the Republic of Turkey, serving as its first president from 1923 until his death in 1938.

Tansu Ciller served as prime minister from 1993 to 1996. She was Turkey's first and only female prime minister.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has served as the president of Turkey since 2014. He previously served as prime minister of Turkey from 2003 to 2014 and as mayor of Istanbul from 1994 to 1998. He founded the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2001. He supported the constitutional referendum in 2017 which changed Turkey's parliamentary system into a presidential system.


Ukraine declared independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991.

Ukraine is a republic under a semi-presidential system. Verkhovna Rada is the unicameral parliament.

The president's official residence is the Mariinskyi Palace.

During the election campaign 2004, Viktor Yushchenko became the victim of an assassination attempt when he was poisoned with dioxin. He suffered disfigurement as a result of the poisoning, but has since made a full recovery. The runoff election in November 2004, won by Yanukovych, was marred by widespread accusations of election fraud, leading to the Orange Revolution and an order by the Ukrainian Supreme Court to repeat the vote.

Yulia Tymoshenko served as prime minister from February to September 2005 and from 2007 to 2010. She co-led the Orange Revolution.

Viktor Yanukovych was removed from office in 2014, after months of protests against his presidency.

Volodymyr Zelensky is a former comedian and actor. In the TV series Servant of the People, Zelenskyy played a fictional Ukrainian president.

List of presidents of Ukraine

1991-1994 Leonid Kravchuk
1994-2005 Leonid Kushma
2005-2010 Viktor Yushchenko
2010-2014 Viktor Yanukovych
2014-2019 Petro Poroshenko
2019- Volodymyr Zelensky

United Kingdom

See United Kingdom Politics

Vatican City

The politics of Vatican City takes place in the context of an absolute elective monarchy, in which the head of the Catholic Church holds power. The Pope exercises principal legislative, executive, and judicial power over the State of Vatican City.

North America

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1981, and opted to remain within the Commonwealth.

The bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Vere Bird was the first Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda. His son, Lester Bryant Bird, succeeded him as Prime Minister in 1994.


The Bahamas gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1973.

Lynden Pindling served as Prime Minister of the Bahamas from 1969 to 1992.


Barbados gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1966.

Grantley Adams was the first Premier of Barbados, from 1953 to 1958.

The Government of Barbados announced in 2020 that it intended to become a republic. On 30 November 2021, the incumbent Governor-General of Barbados Sandra Mason became the first president of Barbados, and Barbados ceased to be a constitutional monarchy and became a republic.


The United Kingdom granted British Honduras self-government in 1964. In 1973, British Honduras was officially renamed Belize. Belize gained independence in 1981.

Belize is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy.


Canada is a parliamentary liberal democracy and a constitutional monarchy. To carry out most of their federal royal duties in Canada, the monarch appoints a representative, the governor general, on the advice of the prime minister.

Canada has a bicameral parliament, which consists of the House of Commons (lower house) and the Senate of Canada (upper house).

24 Sussex Drive, New Edinburgh (also called Gorffwysfa) is the official residence of the Prime Minister of Canada. Built between 1866 and 1868 by Joseph Merrill Currier.

Canadian electoral constituencies are known as Ridings.

The Canada Act 1982 severed all remaining dependence of Canada on the United Kingdom, in a process known as patriation.

The Liberal Party is colloquially known as the Grits.

Party Quebecois is a federal political party devoted to Quebec nationalism and the promotion of Quebec sovereignty.

John MacDonald was the first Prime Minister of Canada.

Wilfrid Laurier was the first French-Canadian to serve as Prime Minister.

Kim Campbell was the first female Canadian Prime Minister and served for 132 days. She called an election shortly after becoming prime minister, but was defeated in the largest electoral loss by a federal government in Canadian history.

John Turner was prime minister for 79 days.

Justin Trudeau is the leader of the Liberal Party. He is the son of Pierre Trudeau.

Notable Prime Ministers of Canada

1867-1873 John MacDonald
1878-1891 John MacDonald
1896-1911 Wilfrid Laurier
1921-1926 Mackenzie King
1926-1930 Mackenzie King
1935-1948 Mackenzie King
1948-1957 Louis St. Laurent
1957-1963 John Diefenbaker
1963-1968 Lester B. Pearson
1968-1979 Pierre Trudeau
1980-1984 Pierre Trudeau
1984 John Turner
1984-1993 Brian Mulroney
1993 Kim Campbell
1993-2003 Jean Chretian
2003-2006 Paul Martin
2006-2015 Stephen Harper
2015- Justin Trudeau

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a presidential republic.

Jose Figueres Ferrer served as President of Costa Rica on three occasions between 1948 and 1974. He abolished the country's army in 1948.

Oscar Arias served as president from 1986 to 1990 and from 2006 to 2010. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his proposal of a negotiated solution to the Central American crisis.

Laura Chinchilla was the first woman to serve as president, serving from 2010 to 2014.


Cuba is a Marxist–Leninist one-party socialist state, in which the role of the vanguard Communist Party is enshrined in the Constitution. Cuba has an authoritarian regime where political opposition is not permitted.

Cuba gained independence from the United States in 1902. Tomas Estrada Palma was the first president of independent Cuba.

The 26th of July Movement (Spanish: Movimiento 26 de Julio; M-26-7) was the revolutionary organization planned and led by Fidel Castro that in 1959 overthrew the Fulgencio Batista government.

Fidel Castro served as the prime minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976 and president from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from 1961 until 2011. He was the longest-serving non-royal head of state in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Raul Castro is the brother of Fidel Castro. He served as the first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from 2011 to 2021, and President of Cuba between 2008 and 2018.

Miguel Diaz-Canel has served as president since 2021.


Dominica is a parliamentary democracy. The Commonwealth of Dominica was granted independence as a republic in 1978.

Patrick John was the first Prime Minister and led Dominica to independence.

Eugenia Charles was Prime Minister of Dominica from 1980 until 1995. She was the first female in the Americas to be elected in her own right as head of government.

Nicholas Liverpool served as president from 2003 to 2012.

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is a representative democracy.

Rafael Trujillo ruled the Dominican Republic from 1930 until his assassination in 1961. Officially, he was President only from 1930 to 1938, and again from 1942 to 1952. His brother Hector Trujillo was President from 1952 to 1960, and it was only under pressure from the Organization of American States that a non-relative, Trujillo ally Joaquin Balaguer, succeeded Hector.

Joaquin Balaguer served three non-consecutive terms as president from 1960 to 1962, 1966 to 1978, and 1986 to 1996.

El Salvador

El Salvador is a representative democracy.

Salvadoran Civil War was a period of civil war (1979-1992) in El Salvador that was fought between the government of El Salvador and a coalition of left-wing groups backed by the Cuban regime of Fidel Castro as well as the Soviet Union.

Nayib Bukele has been president since 2019. He founded the New Ideas party in 2017.


Grenada is a Commonwealth realm.

Grenada gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1974 with Eric Gairy becoming the first prime minister.

In 1979, the Marxist New Jewel Movement (NJM) launched a bloodless coup which removed Gairy, suspended the constitution, and established a People's Revolutionary Government (PRG), headed by Maurice Bishop who declared himself prime minister.

In 1983, communist Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard led a coup against the government of Maurice Bishop and placed Bishop under house arrest. Bishop was executed by firing squad. The United States invaded Grenada and occupied the country.

Democratic elections were held in 1984.


Guatemala is now a democratic republic.

From 1960 to 1996, Guatemala endured a bloody civil war fought between the United States-backed government and leftist rebels.

Alvaro Arzu served as president from 1996 until 2000.


The government of Haiti is a semi-presidential republic.

Since independence, Haiti has suffered 32 coups.

Francois Duvalier was President of Haiti from 1957 to 1971. Duvalier first won acclaim in fighting diseases, earning him the nickname ‘Papa Doc’. After thwarting a military coup d'état in 1958, his regime rapidly became more autocratic and despotic. He created a private militia known as Tontons Macoutes and proclaimed himself ‘President for Life’.

Jean-Claude Duvalier (nicknamed ‘Baby Doc’) succeeded his father ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier as the ruler of Haiti from his father's death in 1971 until his overthrow by a popular uprising in 1986.

Jean-Bertrand Aristide was the first democratically elected president of Haiti. He served four terms between 1991 and 2004.

Jovenel Moise served as president from 2017 until his assassination in 2021.

Ariel Henry is the acting president and acting prime minister.


Honduras is a democratic republic.

A string of authoritarian military governments held power from 1963 until 1981.

Manuel Zelaya served as president from 2006 until he was removed in a coup d’état in 2009.

Xiomara Castro is the current president. She is the country's first female president, having earlier served as first lady during the presidency of her husband Manuel Zelaya.


Jamaica is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy.

Jamaica was granted independence from the United Kingdom in 1962.

Jamaica has traditionally had a two-party system, with power often alternating between the People's National Party (PNP) and Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).

Alexander Bustamante served as the independent country's first Prime Minister until 1967.

Norman Manley served as Premier of Jamaica from 1959 to 1962 and as prime minister from 1972 to 1980 and from 1989 to 1992.

Portia Simpson-Miller served as Prime Minister of Jamaica from 2006 to 2007 and from 2012 to 2016

Andrew Holness has served as prime minister since 2016.


Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a federal republic.

The federal legislature is the bicameral Congress of the Union, composed of the Senate of the Republic and the Chamber of Deputies.

PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) was founded in 1929 and ruled Mexico until 2000.

Vicente Fox served as president from 2000 to 2006.

Filipe Calderon served as president from 2006 to 2012.

Enrique Pena Nieto served as president from 2012 to 2018.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, also known as AMLO, has served as president since 2108.

MORENA (National Regeneration Movement) was founded by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in 2011 and is the ruling party.


Nicaragua is a representative democracy.

Fighters of the left-wing Sandinista National Liberation Front overthrew the regime in 1979. President Anastasio Somoza fled to the United States, and was assassinated in Paraguay in 1980.

Various rebel groups collectively known as the "Contras" were formed to oppose the new government, and they were supported by the Ronald Reagan administration.

Violeta Chamorro served as president from 1990 until 1997. She is the only woman to hold the position of president.

Daniel Ortega was leader of Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990, first as coordinator of the Junta of National Reconstruction from 1979 to 1985, then as president from 1985 to 1990, and has been president since 2007. He has concentrated power to such an extent that he is regarded as a dictator.


Panama is a representative democracy.

Omar Torrijos was the military leader of Panama from 1968 to his death in 1981. His son Martín Torrijos was elected president and served from 2004 to 2009.

Manuel Noriega was the de facto ruler of Panama from 1983 to 1989. He amassed a personal fortune through drug trafficking operations.

The United States invaded Panama in December 1989. Noriega was captured and tried in Miami as a prisoner of war.

Laurentino Cortizo is the current president.

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saint Kitts and Nevis was the most recent British territory in the Caribbean to become independent, gaining independence in 1983.

Saint Kitts and Nevis is a Commonwealth realm, with a unicameral legislature known as the National Assembly.

Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1979.

Saint Lucia is a Commonwealth realm.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1979.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a Commonwealth realm.

Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1962.

In 1976 Trinidad and Tobago became a republic within the Commonwealth.

The parliament consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Eric Williams served as prime minister from 1962 until his death in 1981.

United States

See USA Politics

South America


Argentina has a bicameral parliament, made up of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.

Casa Rosada (‘Pink House’) is the official seat of the executive branch of the government of Argentina.

Following the death of President Juan Peron in 1974, his widow and vice president, Isabel Peron, ascended to the presidency, before being overthrown in 1976. The following military junta persecuted and murdered thousands of political critics, activists, and leftists in the Dirty War, a period of state terrorism and civil unrest that lasted until the election of Raul Alfonsin as president in 1983.

Eva Peron  served as First Lady of Argentina from 1946 until her death in 1952.

Isabel Peron was the first female president of Argentina.

Leopoldo Galtieri rose to the Presidency of Argentina by means of a coup that ousted General Roberto Viola in December 1981. Galtieri's declining popularity due to his civil rights abuses and the worsening economic crisis in Argentina caused him to invade the Falkland Islands in April 1982.

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner served as first lady during the tenure of her husband, Nestor Kirchner. She has served as Vice President since 2019.

The Justicialist Party is the largest branch within Peronism. Justicialists have been the largest party in Congress almost consistently since 1987.

List of notable presidents of Argentina

1946-1955 Juan Peron
1973-1974 Juan Peron
1974-1976 Isabel Peron
1976-1981 Jorge Rafael Videla
1981-1982 Leopoldo Galtieri
1982-1983 Reynaldo Bignone
1983-1989 Raul Alfonsin
1989-1999 Carlos Menem
2003-2007 Nestor Kirchner
2007-2015 Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
2015-2019 Mauricio Macri
2019- Alberto Fernandez


Bolivia has been governed by democratically elected governments since 1982; prior to that, it was governed by dictatorships.

Hugo Banzer held the Bolivian presidency twice: from 1971 to 1978 in a military dictatorship; and then again from 1997 to 2001, as a democratically elected president.

Evo Morales served as president from 2006 to 2019. He was the country's first president to come from its indigenous population.

Jeanine Anez served as president from 2019 to 2020.

Luis Arce has served as president since 2020.


The Federal Government of Brazil is the national government of the Federative Republic of Brazil.

The National Congress of Brazil is composed of the Federal Senate (the upper house) and the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house).

Dilma Rousseff was the first female President of Brazil. She was impeached in December 2015, charged with criminal administrative misconduct.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was arrested in April 2018 and convicted on charges of money laundering and corruption. He spent 580 days in jail.

In the 2022 Brazilian general election, Jair Bolsonaro lost to Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, becoming the first president in Brazil to lose his bid for re-election.

The Workers' Party is a left-wing political party that is currently the country's ruling party.

From 2003 to 2008, singer Gilberto Gil served as Brazil's Minister of Culture.

List of recent presidents of Brazil

1995-2003 Fernando Henrique Cardoso
2003-2010 Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
2011-2016 Dilma Rousseff
2016-2018 Michel Temer
2019-2022 Jair Bolsonaro
2023- Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva


The military dictatorship of Chile was an authoritarian military government that ruled Chile between 1973 and 1990. The dictatorship was established after the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende was overthrown by a CIA-backed coup d'état. The dictatorship was headed by a military junta presided by General Augusto Pinochet.

The dictatorship under Augusto Pinochet resulted in more than 3,000 deaths or disappearances.

Patricio Aylwin was elected as president of Chile after its return to democratic rule in 1990.

Presidential candidates under the banner of a centre-left coalition won every election from when military rule ended in 1990 until the conservative candidate Sebastian Pinera won the Chilean presidential election in 2010.

Sebastian Pinera served as President of Chile from 2010 to 2014 and from 2018 to 2022.

Michelle Bachelet served as President of Chile from 2006 to 2010 and from 2014 to 2018 for the Socialist Party.

Gabriel Boric has been president of Chile since 2022. He was aged 36 when he took office.


Beginning in the 1960s, the country has suffered from armed conflict and political violence, both of which escalated in the 1990s.

Alvara Uribe served as president of Colombia from 2002 to 2010.

Juan Manuel Santos served as president of Colombia from 2010 to 2018. He was awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to bring the country’s more than 50-year-long civil war to an end. In June 2016, the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People's Army) had signed a ceasefire accord with Juan Manuel Santos in Havana.

Ivan Duque served as president of Colombia from 2018 to 2022.

Gustavo Petro is the current president. He is the country’s first leftist leader.


Ecuador is governed by a democratically elected president.

Rafael Correa served as president of Ecuador from 2007 to 2017.

Lenin Moreno served as president of Ecuador from 2017 to 2021. For his advocacy for people with disabilities, he was nominated for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize.

Guillermo Lasso has served as president since 2021. He is leader of the centre-right Creating Opportunities party.


British Guiana gained independence as Guyana in 1966, and officially became a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations in 1970.

Arthur Chung was the 1st President of Guyana from 1970 to 1980. He was the first ethnic Chinese (Chinese Caribbean) to be head of state in a non-Asian country.

Forbes Burnham was the first Executive President of Guyana (2nd President overall) from 1980 to 1985.

Irfaan Ali is the current president.


Alfredo Stroessner was an army officer and dictator who served as President of Paraguay from 1954 to 1989. he was overthrown in the coup d'état led by Major General Andres Rodríguez, with the support of the army, and was exiled to Brazil. This marked the beginning of Paraguay's democratic era, which continues to this day.

The right-wing Colorado Party was defeated in 2008 after 61 years in power, but the party regained the presidency in the 2013 election.

Mario Abdo Benitez has served as president since 2108.


Peru is a semi-presidential republic.

Alan Garcia served as President of Peru from 1985 to 1990 and from 2006 to 2011. At the conclusion of his first presidency, he was accused and investigated for corruption. He exiled himself with his family in Colombia and France and returned after Alberto Fujimori’s downfall.

Alberto Fujimori served as President of Peru from 1990 to 2000. In 1992 Fujimori performed a self-coup, dissolving the Congress as well as the judiciary and assuming full legislative and judicial powers. In 2009, Fujimori was sentenced to seven and a half years imprisonment for embezzlement.

Pedro Castillo served as President of Peru from 2021 to 2022. He was impeached and removed from office in December 2022.

Dina Boluarte is the current president, and is the first woman to serve as President of Peru.


Suriname gained independence from the Netherlands in 1975 and continues to maintain close diplomatic ties with the Netherlands.

Desi Bouterse served as President of Suriname from 2010 to 2020. From 1980 to 1987, he was Suriname's de facto leader after conducting a military coup and establishing a period of military rule. He is a convicted murderer and drug trafficker.


Uruguay is ranked first in the Americas for democracy, and first in Latin America in peace.

For most of Uruguay's history, the Partido Colorado has been in government.

The 1973 Uruguayan coup d'état marked the beginning of the civic-military dictatorship which lasted until 1985. President Juan María Bordaberry closed parliament and ruled with the assistance of a junta of military generals.

Tabere Vasquez served as President of Uruguay from 2005 to 2010 and from 2015 to 2020.

Jose Mujica served as President of Uruguay from 2010 to 2015. He had been tortured and imprisoned for 14 years during the military dictatorship.

Luis Lacalle Pou has served as President of Uruguay from 2020.


Since 1958, the country has had a series of democratic governments. Economic shocks in the 1980s and 1990s led to major political crises and widespread social unrest.

Hugo Chavez was president of Venezuela from 1999 until his death in 2013. He described himself as a Marxist.

Nicolas Maduro has been President of Venezuela since 2013. Maduro has been described as an autocrat and a dictator.

In January 2019, Juan Guaido and the National Assembly declared that he was acting president of Venezuela, starting the Venezuelan presidential crisis by challenging Nicolas Maduro's presidency. His interim government was dissolved in January 2023.

The Bolivarian Revolution was led by Chavez and then by Maduro. It seeks to build an inter-American coalition to implement Bolivarianism, nationalism and a state-led economy.

The presidential term of office is six years, and a president may be re-elected an unlimited number of times.



Australia is a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy.

The Commonwealth Parliament was opened in 1901 in Melbourne. The federal legislature moved to Canberra in 1927.

Henry Parkes is regarded as the Father of the Australian Federation.

Edmund Barton was the first Australian Prime Minister.

Billy Hughes tried to introduce conscription during World War I but was unsuccessful.

Harold Holt’s term as Prime Minister was ended when he disappeared while swimming at Cheviot Beach near Portsea and was presumed drowned.

Gough Whitlam was removed from office by Governor-General John Kerr following a constitutional crisis which was precipitated by the Senate's refusal to pass the Whitlam government's money (Supply) bill.

Kevin Rudd’s second term as prime minister lasted for 83 days.

Julia Gillard was the first female Australian Prime Minster. She was born in Wales.

The Lodge is the official residence of the Prime Minister of Australia in the national capital, Canberra.

The governor-general of Australia is the representative of the monarch.

The Senate (upper house) has 76 members. The House of Representatives (lower house) has 151 members.

The two major parties are the Liberal Party and the Labor Party. Anthony Albanese is the leader of the Labor Party.

In Australian politics, a leadership spill is a declaration that the leadership of a parliamentary party is vacant, and open for re-election

Australia does not have a bill of rights or human rights act.

Notable Prime Ministers of Australia

1901-1903 Edward Barton
1915-1923 Billy Hughes
1939-1941 Robert Menzies
1941-1945 John Curtin
1949-1966 Robert Menzies
1966-1967 Harold Holt
1972-1975 Gough Whitlam
1975-1983 Malcolm Fraser
1983-1991 Bob Hawke
1991-1996 Paul Keating
1996-2007 John Howard
2007-2010 Kevin Rudd
2010-2013 Julia Gillard
2013 Kevin Rudd
2013-2015 Tony Abbott
2015-2018 Malcolm Turnbull
2018-2022 Scott Morrison
2022- Anthony Albanese


Fiji gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1970. A military coup in 1987 saw both the Fijian monarchy and the Governor General replaced by a non-executive president.

Frank Bainimarama served as the prime minister of Fiji from 2007 until 2022. He instigated a coup in 2006 and founded the FijiFirst party in 2014.


The Gilbert Islands gained independence from the United Kingdom as the Republic of Kiribati in 1979.

The Constitution of Kiribati provides for free and open elections in a parliamentary democratic republic.

Marshall Islands

The Marshall Islands gained independence from the United States in 1979.

Politically, the Marshall Islands is a parliamentary republic with an executive presidency in free association with the United States.

Federated States of Micronesia

The Federated States of Micronesia gained independence from the United States in 1979.

Politically, the Federated States of Micronesia is a Federal assembly-independent republic under a non-partisan democracy.


Nauru became independent in 1968.

Nauru is a republic with a parliamentary system of government.

New Zealand

New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy.

In 1891 the Liberal Party came to power as the first organised political party. The Liberal Government, led by Richard Seddon for most of its period in office, passed many important social and economic measures. In 1893 New Zealand was the first nation in the world to grant all women the right to vote.

In 1947 the country adopted the Statute of Westminster, confirming that the British Parliament could no longer legislate for New Zealand without the consent of New Zealand.

Richard Seddon is the longest-serving Prime Minister of New Zealand.

Norman Kirk died in office, aged 51.

Jenny Shipley was the first woman Prime Minister of New Zealand.

The two main political parties are the National Party and the Labour Party. The Labour Party has been in power since 2017.

The Executive Wing of the New Zealand Parliament Buildings in Wellington is commonly known as “The Beehive”. It is so-called because its shape is reminiscent of that of a traditional woven form of beehive known as a skep.

Notable Prime Ministers of New Zealand

1856 Henry Sewell (first Colonial Secretary)
1869-1872 William Fox (first Premier)
1893-1906 Richard Seddon
1906-1912 Joseph Ward
1940-1949 Peter Fraser
1970-1974 Norman Kirk
1975-1984 Robert Muldoon
1990-1997 Jim Bolger
1997-1999 Jenny Shipley
1999-2008 Helen Clark
2008-2016 John Key
2016-2017 Bill English
2017-2023 Jacinda Ardern
2023- Chris Hipkins


The governments of the United States and Palau concluded a Compact of Free Association in 1986.

Palau declared independence from the United States in 1994.

Politically, Palau is a Federal presidential republic under a non-partisan democracy.

Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea gained independence from Australia in 1975. It is a Commonwealth realm.

James Marape is the current prime minister.


New Zealand granted the country independence as the Independent State of Western Samoa in 1962.

In 1997 the government amended the constitution to change the name of the country from Western Samoa to Samoa.

Samoa is a unitary parliamentary democracy.

Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1978.

Solomon Islands is a constitutional monarchy and has a parliamentary system of government.


Tonga gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1970.

Tonga is a constitutional monarchy and is the only remaining indigenous monarchy in the Pacific islands.


The Ellice Islands gained independence from the United Kingdom as Tuvalu in 1978.

Tuvalu is a parliamentary democracy and Commonwealth realm.


The New Hebrides gained independence from the United Kingdom and France as Vanuatu in 1980.

The Republic of Vanuatu is a parliamentary democracy.