British Virgin Islands

Head of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by a governor.

The governor is responsible for external affairs, defence, internal security, public services and the administration of the courts.

Premier: Orlando Smith

British Virgin Islands Premier Orlando Smith Orlando Smith is into his second term as premier

Orlando Smith was elected to his second stint as premier after his National Democratic Party decisively defeated incumbent Ralph O'Neal's Virgin Islands Party in a November 2011 general election.

The NDP won nine seats - up from two in the last election - to the VIP's four - down from 11. After the result, Mr Smith said his priority was to get the British overseas territory's economy "back on track".

The NDP promised to safeguard the vital tourism and financial service sectors, reduce the cost of living, increase home ownership, and upgrade schools and hospitals.

Mr Smith's first time in office, from 2003-2007, was ended by a crushing electon defeat to Mr O'Neal.

Born in 1944, Mr Smith trained as a physician.

The territory has a ministerial system of government. Elections to the 13-member Legislative Council are held every four years.

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