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Government > Politics: Countries Compared

DEFINITION: Country politics.
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION
Albania Edi Rama's Socialist Party won a landslide victory in the 2013 parliamentary election, ending eight years of conservative rule
Algeria President Bouteflika led his country out of the civil war that broke out when Islamists were denied an election victory; since the 1990s, the Islamist insurgency has turned into an Al-Qaeda-led bombing campaign
Angola President has been in power for 30 years. Oil-rich enclave of Cabinda has been embroiled in a long-running independence struggle.
Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer and his United Progressive Party won elections in 2009
Argentina President Cristina Fernandez is the widow of former president Nestor Kirchner
Armenia Serge Sarkasian's re-election in 2013 was disputed by the opposition
Australia Tony Abbott's conservative Liberal-National coalition swept into office in elections in September 2013
Austria Under the "grand coalition" tradition, the centre-left SPOe and conservative People's Party have shared power for much of the post-World War II period
Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev came to power in 2003, succeeding his father Heydar, and was re-elected in 2008 and in 2013. A two-term presidential limit was abolished in 2009. Critics accuse Mr Aliyev of heading an authoritarian regime which suppresses opposition
Bahrain The Khalifa family has ruled since 1783; Bahrain is now a constitutional monarchy with an elected legislative assembly; majority Shia Muslims are demanding more power from Sunni-led government. The government launched a crackdown on pro-democracy protests in 2011, but unrest continues to simmer
Barbados Freundel Stuart first became prime minister after his predecessor died in office in 2010. His Democratic Labour Party was narrowly re-elected in 2013
Belarus President Lukashenko is often dubbed "Europe's last dictator". He's been in power since 1994
Belgium Socialist PM Elio di Rupo, a French speaker, was appointed in late 2011 to lead a six-party coalition after 18 months of negotiations
Belize Dean Barrow's United Democratic Party won elections in 2008 and 2012
Benin President Yayi won elections in 2006, replacing Mathieu Kerekou, who was in office for most of the time since he seized power in 1972
Bolivia Differences over the exploitation of energy resources underlie recurring political crises; Evo Morales is the first indigenous president
Botswana The ruling party has won all 10 elections since independence in 1966. Controversy surrounds the forced relocation of bushmen from their traditional hunting grounds.
Bulgaria Inconclusive elections in May 2013 resulted in the formation of a government of technocrats
Burkina Faso Coup leader Blaise Compaore won a new five-year term in 2010 after 23 years at the helm
Burma Military rule 1962-2011 gives way to an army-led transition to representative government
Burundi Stability appeared to be within reach after years of bloody conflict, but post-election tension in 2010 renewed fears of civil war
Canada Canada gradually emerged as a federation of former British colonies, and the provinces retain extensive powers. It follows the British pattern of parliamentary democracy, and the UK monarch is head of state, represented by a largely ceremonial governor-general. French-speaking Quebec has wide-ranging cultural and linguistic autonomy.
Chad Crises on several fronts: President Deby, in power since 1990, faces an armed rebellion by several groups and incursions from neighbouring Sudan. He survived a coup attempt in 2006
Chile Michelle Bachelet gained a second, non-consecutive term as president in the 2013 elections
China Under Communist rule since 1949, China has moved away from the Maoist radicalism that led to millions of deaths in the 1950s and 1960s, but the party has kept a tight grip on state and society, saying the suppression of dissent is justified by the need for stability.
Colombia President Santos maintains his predecessor's tough line against the Farc
Comoros After coups and secession bids, the Comoros gained some stability under a 2001 constitution granting the islands of Grande Comore, Anjouan, Moheli greater autonomy within a federation.
Costa Rica Costa Rica's first female president, Laura Chinchilla, succeeded elder statesman and nobel laureate Oscar Arias in May 2010. Presidential elections are due on 2 February 2014
Cote d'Ivoire Civil war in 2002 split country between rebel-held north and government-controlled south; 2007 power-sharing deal held out prospect of peace; 2010 presidential poll led to further violence
Croatia The centre-left government of PM Zoran Milanovic took over in December 2011, riding a tide of anger over corruption and economic stagnation
Cuba Communist leader Fidel Castro led the one-party state for nearly 50 years; his brother Raul took over as leader in 2008
Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades won the presidency in 2013 promising to secure a financial bailout. Pro-independence Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu came to power in 2010
Czech Republic The appointment of a new Social Democrat-led government in January 2014 brought to an end a seven-month long power vacuum caused by the collapse of the previous centre-right government over a sleaze scandal
Denmark Social Democrat Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Denmark's first female PM, took office after 2011 elections ended a decade of centre-right rule
East Timor East Timor became independent in 2002 following a bloody separation from Indonesian occupation
Ecuador Three presidents have been ousted since 1997; current leader Rafael Correa has been elected for a third term and has introduced sweeping left-wing policies
Egypt President Hosni Mubarak stepped down in February 2011 amid an uprising, handing power to the military. The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood won elections but was ousted by the army a year later amid mass protests
El Salvador El Salvador has returned to democracy after being torn by a bitter civil in the 1980s; crime gangs and the drugs trade pose a serious challenge to security. Presidential elections are due on 2 February 2014
Equatorial Guinea President Obiang seized power in 1979; rights groups have condemned his rule as one Africa's most brutal; he faces a "government in exile" and a separatist movement
Eritrea The government has been accused of repression and of hindering the development of democracy
Estonia PM Andrus Ansip heads a centre-right coalition which was re-elected in 2011
Ethiopia Veteran Prime Minister Meles Zenawi died in August 2012. Secessionist groups maintain a low-level armed struggle
Finland PM Jyrki Katainen's conservative National Coalition Party is the largest single group in parliament. Conservative President Sauli Niinisto is head of state
France Francois Hollande is France's first Socialist president since Francois Mitterrand in 1981-95
Gabon Gabon was ruled by just two presidents between 1960 and 2009. The current president succeeded his father
Gambia The Gambia has been relatively stable under the iron-fisted rule of Yahya Jammeh, who came to power in a bloodless coup in 1994
Georgia President Mikhail Saakashvili won a second term in 2008. He swept to power in the "Rose Revolution" in 2003, but lost control of parliament in 2012
Germany Angela Merkel of the conservative Christian Democrats won a third term as chancellor in 2013
Ghana Ghana is one of the more stable nations in the region, with a good record of power changing hands peacefully
Greece After inconclusive elections in May 2012, a further round of voting in June restored a shaky coalition of the advocates of austerity measures
Guam Guam is a territory of the United States
Guinea Military junta took control in December 2008 at the of death of President Lansana Conte, who seized power in a coup 24 years earlier. A provisional government supervised the transition to civilian rule at the end of 2010
Guinea-Bissau This former Portuguese colony has suffered a civil war and several coups, the latest in April 2012
Guyana Fierce rivalry between the two main ethnically-based parties has led to recurring instability
Haiti Democratic rule was restored in 2006, two years after a violent revolt ousted former leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide; bitter divisions persist
Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban's conservative Fidesz party's sweeping victory in the 2010 election has enabled it to push through radical legislative changes. The date of the next election has been set for 6 April 2014
Iceland Social Democrat Johanna Sigurdardottir led the first leftwing coalition in 2009-13, before losing to a conservative alliance
India 344m people voted in 2009 election - Congress-led alliance of PM Manmohan Singh won second mandate
Iran Domestic politics have long been characterised by a seemingly unbridgeable gulf between conservatives and reformers
Iraq Iraq became a battleground for forces vying for power after the US-led invasion of 2003, and an uneasy Shia-led government took over when US forces left in 2011
Ireland Prime Minister Enda Kenny from Fine Gael leads a coalition that ousted Fianna Fail, traditionally the main force in parliament, in 2011
Israel Palestinian resistance to Israeli control has been a key feature since Israel's establishment in 1948
Italy Two months after the 2013 elections left a stalemated parliament, a grand coalition was formed under Enrico Letta
Jamaica Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller from the People's National Party won a closely-fought election in late 2011
Japan The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was in power for much of the country's post-war history. It was ousted in 2009 by the Democratic Party, but returned to office with a landslide election win in 2012
Jordan Real power rests with the king, who has promised to press ahead with reforms; multi-party politics was introduced in 1992
Kenya Presidential elections in 2007 led to widespread unrest, which resulted in the formation of a power-sharing government. Polls in 2013 were largely peaceful
Kuwait After years of clashes between the elected parliament and the ruling family, the opposition boycotted elections in 2012; the country has faced violence from militant Islamists
Kyrgyzstan First two post-Soviet presidents, Askar Akayev and Kurmanbek Bakiyev, were swept from power by popular uprisings. Ethnic tensions have led to violence
Laos Ruling communists maintain a monopoly of political power
Latvia Latvia regained its independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Presence of a large ethnic Russian minority is a sensitive issue
Lebanon Governments remain fragile, and increasingly at the mercy of the Syrian situation
Lesotho A coalition government was formed following inconclusive elections in May 2012. Polls in 1998 led to violence; peacekeepers restored order
Liberia Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf became president in 2006 after the first polls since the end of the civil war
Libya The election of a General National Congress in July 2012 was Libya's first free national election in six decades.
Liechtenstein Prince Hans-Adam is head of state, but his son Crown Prince Alois oversees day-to-day affairs
Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite is Lithuania's first female president
Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker was conservative prime minister from 1995 to 2013, when he made way for a centre-left coalition after a phone-tapping scandal.
Madagascar The inauguration of a new president in January 2014 was seen as a major step towards ending the political and economic crisis brought about by a 2009 coup
Malawi Turbulent politics has hampered governance
Mali Mali was regarded as a model of African democracy until military seized power in March 2012 and the north fell under al-Qaeda control. Presidential polls in August 2013 were part of a designated return to civilian rule
Malta The Labour Party won elections in March 2013
Mauritania A coup in 2005 ended President Taya's two decades of authoritarian rule; presidential polls in March 2007 marked the start of a short-lived move towards democracy - another coup followed a year later
Mauritius Navin Ramgoolam became premier in July 2005, having already held the post from 1995 to 2000. Changing coalitions are a feature of politics
Mexico The Institutional Revolutionary Party was ousted in 2000 after 70 years of ruling Mexico effectively as a one-party state. It returned to power in 2012, promising it will not return to its old authoritarian ways
Moldova Prime Minister Vlad Filat heads a pro-West three-party coalition
Monaco Monaco is ruled by the Grimaldi dynasty. A Council of Government governs under royal authority. The monarch is Prince Albert II
Montenegro Montenegro opted for independence in a 2006 referendum
Mozambique Frelimo party has been in power since independence from Portugal in 1975. Tension with former Renamo guerrillas has persisted
Namibia President Pohamba took over from independence fighter Sam Nujoma, who led the ruling SWAPO party until 2007. The opposition has only minor representation in parliament
Nepal Historic elections in April 2008 led to abolition of centuries-old monarchy. New constitution has yet to be written
Netherlands A left-right coalition government was formed in November 2012, after months of deadlock over plans to cut the budget deficit
New Zealand John Key led the National Party to victory in elections in 2008 and 2011
Nicaragua Former Marxist guerrilla leader Daniel Ortega made a comeback in the November 2006 presidential race
Niger President Tandja changed the constitution to stay in power, but was ousted in a coup in 2010. Polls to restore civilian rule were held in January 2011
Nigeria People's Democratic Party (PDP) has dominated since the return to civilian rule in 1999. The al-Qaeda-aligned Boko Haram armed movement is conducting an insurrection in the mainly Muslim north
North Korea A family dynasty heads a secretive, communist regime which tolerates no dissent
Norway Erna Solberg heads a right-wing minority coalition government assembled following elections in September 2013
Oman Sultan Qaboos seized power in 1970 and rules by decree; he has moved to increase popular participation in decision making
Palau Became independent in 1994 after being run by the US
Panama Democracy was restored in 1989 after more than two decades of military dictatorship. Corruption, the drugs trade and social inequality are major political challenges.
Papua New Guinea Separatist rebellion on island of Bougainville was finally resolved with election of first autonomous government in 2005
Paraguay Federico Franco became president in June 2012 after Congress controversially impeached his predecessor
Peru Ollanta Humala took over as president in mid-2011
Philippines Guerrilla insurgencies and political scandals have undermined efforts at promoting stability
Poland Prime Minister Donald Tusk's governing coalition won a second term in October 2011
Portugal Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho from the Social Democrats heads a coalition with the Popular Party
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico is a self-governing overseas territory of the United States at present, but has voted in favour of full US statehood
Qatar Ruling monarch Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani inherited the throne from his father in 2013
Republic of Macedonia Centre-right PM Nikola Gruevski governs in coalition with a party representing the Albanian minority
Romania Traian Basescu has been president since 2004. In May 2012, Victor Ponta became Romania's third prime minister in less than six months. He leads a centre-left government
Russia Vladimir Putin, Russia's dominant political figure since 2000, resumed the presidency in 2012
Rwanda Rwanda is trying to shake off its image associated with the 1994 state-sponsored genocide; the government argues the country is now stable
Saint Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Denzil Douglas won a fourth straight term in 2010
Saint Lucia Prime Minister Kenny Anthony from the St Lucia Labour Party won elections in late 2011
Samoa The governing Human Rights Protection Party has been the dominant party in the country since 1982
Sao Tome and Principe Power is constitutionally split between president and prime minister, which has led to several cohabitation governments
Saudi Arabia The Al Saud dynasty holds a monopoly of power; political parties are banned and the opposition is organised from abroad; militant Islamists have launched several deadly attacks
Senegal Macky Sall won presidential elections in 2012, replacing Abdoulaye Wade who controversially ran for a third term in office
Serbia President Tomislav Nikolic has called a snap parliamentary election in March 2014
Seychelles The Seychelles People's Progressive Front (SPPF) has been the ruling party since 1977, when France Albert Rene came to power in a coup
Sierra Leone Sierra Leone is recovering from a 10-year civil war which ended in 2002; democracy consolidated at 2012 elections, the first held without UN supervision
Singapore The People's Action Party has been the dominant force since independence from Malaysia in 1965
Slovakia PM Robert Fico from the leftist Smer party won general elections in March 2012. He was a critic of the former government's austerity programme
Slovenia A centre-left coalition takes over in March 2013 following the collapse of its predecessor over corruption allegations
Solomon Islands The country appears to have settled after the conflict of 1998-2003
South Africa The ANC scored its fourth election victory in April 2009
Spain PM Mariano Rajoy from the conservative Popular Party took office in late 2011. The recession is spurring secessionist sentiment in Catalonia
Sudan South Sudan seceded in July 2011 after opting for independence in a referendum
Suriname Former military leader Desi Bouterse won the presidency in 2010. A 2012 law pardoned the president for crimes committed under his dictatorship in the 1980s. The move soured relations with the Netherlands
Swaziland King Mswati III - on the throne since 1986 - rules by decree and says the country is not yet ready for multi-party politics
Sweden Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt from the centre-right Alliance for Sweden heads a coalition government
Switzerland Switzerland has a collective head of state, the Federal Council. Each year, a council member is chosen to fill the post of Federal President. Referendums are central to the political system of direct democracy
Syria Political power, long held by a small mainly Alawite elite, is being hotly contested in a civil war initially inspired by the Arab Spring
Taiwan Taiwan was a one-party state before it transitioned to democracy in the early 1990s
Tajikistan President Imomali Rakhmon has been in power since 1992. Elections have been marred by allegations of fraud since the 1990s civil war
Tanzania Tanzania has enjoyed stability. Multi-party politics was introduced in 1992
Thailand Thailand has been in the grip of a political schism ever since former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was deposed by the military in 2006
The Bahamas Perry Christie from the Progressive Liberal Party became prime minister for a second time in 2012
Togo President Faure Gnassingbe succeeded his father in a manner condemned internationally
Tonga Tonga is a former British protectorate and the only monarchy in the Pacific
Trinidad and Tobago A four-party coalition, the People's Partnership, won snap elections in 2010. Kamla Persad-Bissessar is Trinidad and Tobago's first female PM. Politics mirrors the country's racial divide
Tunisia Tunisia has been in transition since President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was ousted in January 2011 at the start of the Arab Spring. The moderate Islamist Ennahda party governed from October 2011 but two years later agreed to hand over power to an interim government of independents until fresh elections in 2014
Turkey Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the Islamist AKP began his third term in 2011. He has dealt ruthlessly with alleged challenges from the powerful, secularist military. He also adopted a tough line when faced with anti-government protests in the summer of 2013
Turkmenistan Turkmenistan has become slightly less isolated since President Berdymukhamedov took power in 2007
Tuvalu Gained independence from Britain in 1978
Uganda Multi-party politics restored in 2005. The opposition accuses President Museveni of authoritarian tendencies
Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych won the 2010 presidential poll, capitalising on voter discontent over economic woes
United Arab Emirates The UAE is one of the most liberal countries in the Gulf, but it clamped down on Internet activism in 2012 and imprisoned 68 Islamists for allegedly attempting to seize power in 2013
United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron, from the centre-right Conservative Party, heads a coalition with the UK's third party, the Liberal Democrats. Scotland and Wales have a degree of political autonomy. A vote on Scottish independence is due in 2014.
United States Barack Obama, America's first black president, was re-elected in November 2012
Uruguay The Broad Front coalition came to power in the 2004 elections and won a second mandate in 2009
Uzbekistan Long-term leader Islam Karimov tolerates no opposition; political and rights activists have fled. He shows no signs of giving up power
Vanuatu Vanuatu gained independence from France and Britain in 1980
Venezuela President Hugo Chavez died in March 2013. He led a self-styled socialist revolution but polarised domestic opinion
Vietnam Vietnam is a one-party Communist state; it became unified in 1975 after three decades of war
Yemen President Saleh finally ceded power in November 2011, after months of protests. His departure paved the way for political reform process
Zambia Michael Sata won the presidency in 2011, unseating a government that had been in power for 20 years
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, in office since 1980, gained a new term in controversial elections in 2013

Citation

"Countries Compared by Government > Politics. International Statistics at NationMaster.com", British Broadcasting Corporation 2014. Aggregates compiled by NationMaster. Retrieved from http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Government/Politics

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