Belize profile - Leaders
Head of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by a governor
Prime minister: Dean Barrow
Dean Barrow was re-elected for an unprecedented third five-year term in office in Belize in November 2015.
His United Democratic Party (UDP) won snap elections.
The party won the general elections in February 2008 and again in March 2012.
Mr Barrow was elected to parliament in 1984 and served in senior positions in UDP governments. He led the party in opposition until its victory at the polls in 2008, unseating the People's United Party (PUP) government of Said Musa, which had been in power for 10 years.
The PUP was the driving force behind independence and was pretty much unchallenged at the ballot box until the formation of UDP in the mid-1970s.
Mr Barrow, a lawyer, has invested much of the $150m (£98m) Belize received from Venezuela in the past years in an ambitious infrastructure programme and road building. Belize is heavily dependent on aid from Venezuela, which also offers it oil at discounted prices.
Critics of Mr Barrow link bringing the 2015 polls forward to a possible Venezuelan move to cut its funding.
At the beginning of his new term Mr Barrow was expected to have to grapple with Belize's much larger neighbour, Guatemala, whose newly elected president, Jimmy Morales, said he would pursue with renewed vigour his country's claims over more than half of Belize.