Turks and Caicos profile
Head of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by a governor
Prime Minister: Rufus Ewing
The British government restored direct rule in March 2009 after a commission of inquiry found evidence pointing to corruption in the islands' administration.
Prime Minister Michael Misick resigned under pressure from critics within his Progressive National Party, and was succeeded briefly by his former home minister, Galmo Williams, before the governor suspended the post.
Critics of Mr Misick say he ran the islands like a personal fiefdom, and politicians on the islands are accused of making money from the sale of government-owned land. Mr Misick denied claims of selling Crown Land, and said he had attracted valuable foreign investment. His term of office saw a resort-building boom. He is now a fugitive from justice.
Britain restored home rule in November 2012 under a new constitution. Parliamentary elections that month saw a high turnout of 84% and a narrow win for the Progressive National Party, which took eight seats to the People's Democratic Movement's seven. The two parties have alternated in power since 1976. The PNP's leader, Rufus Ewing, became prime minister on 13 November.
The territory is self-governing, with the governor overseeing foreign affairs, defence and offshore finance. Power is exercised by an elected legislative council and an appointed executive council.
Governor Ric Todd described the election of a new government after the restoration of home rule as the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the islands. He had previously pointed out that Britain would continue to "ensure transparency and good government" by overseeing domestic financial matters, and said that he looked forward to working with the new government on measures to create "a more open, accountable and better-managed society".
A major issue in the election campaign was the British interim administration's introduction of Value-Added Tax, which both major parties pledged to repeal.