Head of state: King Letsie III
King Letsie III succeeded his father, King Moshoeshoe, who was dethroned in 1990.
Five years later, after the return to civilian government and amid political instability, he abdicated and his father was reinstated as monarch.
Letsie III was restored as king in 1996 after his father died in a car accident. The monarch has no legislative or executive powers.
Prime minister: Motsoahae Thomas Thabane
Thomas Thabane heads a coalition government which ousted his predecessor after elections in May 2012.
Mr Thabane's All Basotho Convention, the largest opposition party, teamed up with the Lesotho Congress for Democracy and the Basotho National Party (BNP) to share power and oust the unpopular Pakalitha Mosisili, who had been in power for 14 years.
Mr Mosisili's Democratic Congress party won the most seats, but fell short of the required majority to govern alone.
Mr Mosisili had been in power since 1998, when post-poll wrangling led to weeks of unrest that ultimately triggered military intervention by neighbouring South Africa and Botswana to restore order.
Since independence from Britain in 1966, Lesotho has undergone several military coups.
- Mr Thabane fled to South Africa at the end of August 2014, accusing the military of staging a coup. Elections have been set for early 2015 to try ease tensions related to the events.