Vietnam's parliament swore in the head of a controversial internal security agency, Tran Dai Quang as president on Saturday, elevating him to one of the communist nation's most powerful political posts.
Quang's approval was a formality since he was the only candidate of the party's five-yearly congress in January. The outgoing National Assembly is overseeing the transition to a new government three months earlier than scheduled.
Vietnam is officially led by a triumvirate of president, prime minister and Communist Party chief, but experts say the presidency is more ceremonial than the other posts.
The party runs Vietnam's political system by consensus, as crucial decisions are reached in secret by its 19-member politburo.
Quang, 59, is a police general who hails from the Ministry of Public Security, an organisaton with broad powers.
He swore his loyalty to the party and people after a resolution approving his presidency was backed by 460 of the 465 lawmakers who cast votes on Saturday.
Among Quang’s first duties will be meeting US counterpart Barack Obama in May, the first visit to Vietnam by a US president in a decade.
The former enemies have been trying to normalise ties in recent years, as US-Vietnam relations are seen as crucial for Washington's Asia-Pacific pivot. The two countries also share concerns over an increasingly assertive China in the region.