Also: Civitas Vaticana.
Officially: Stato della Città del Vaticano; Status Civitatis Vaticanae.
English: Vatican City.
Seat of government: Roma.
Status: Not democratic.
Structure: The pope is chosen for life by the College of Cardinals, who are themselves appointed for life by the popes.
Governing party: Roman Catholic Church.
Head of government: Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Francis, pope (since 2013); assisted by Pietro Parolin, secretary of state (since 2013).
Assessment: The state is in physical control over a very small territory, but wields significant influence over one sixth of humanity. Karol Wojtyła, John Paul II (1978-2005), had a long reign that gave him long-lasting influence over policy and personnel. His successor, Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict XVI (2005-13), was a close associate and, like Wojtyła, a social conservative. Ratzinger, quite unusually for a pope, resigned in 2013.
Updated: 2014 October 31.