Tuvalu has an elected 15-member parliament headed by a prime minister chosen from its ranks. The six cabinet ministers and the house speaker are elected members of parliament. There are no political parties; instead, prominent families control politics and virtually all of the leading officials are men. A Tuvaluan governor-general represents the British Crown.
Since 1966, elected island councils (kaupule) have provided local government on each outer island; in 1977 a town council replaced the island council on Funafuti. Previously the heads of families had met in maneapa or falekaupule (community halls) to discuss island affairs.
Major attempts are underway to strengthen outer island local government by providing each island government with funds generated by the Falekaupule Trust Fund, a new source of budgetary revenue that each island government can spend according to certain guidelines.