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Vietnam Lawmakers Elect Top Police Official President

Vietnam's Public Security (Police) Minister General Tran Dai Quang (C) stands with Communist Party's General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (R) and Politburo member Dinh The Huynh (L) at a closing ceremony of 12th National Congress of the Party in Hanoi, January 28, 2016. Vietnam's parliament swore in Tran Dai Quang as president on April 2, 2016, elevating the head of a controversial internal security agency to one of the communist nation's most powerful political posts. Picture taken on January 28, 2016. REUTERS/Kham

Vietnam's National Assembly has elected a top police official as its next president, as the communist country moves through a political transition that will see a new prime minister elected in the coming days.

Vietnamese lawmakers named Tran Dai Quang to the presidency, a largely ceremonial role, on Saturday. The position that makes him the second-highest official in the country as the head of state and top military commander.

Challenges facing Quang include a territorial dispute with China in the South China Sea. Quang has also vowed to raise Vietnam's profile in the international community.

His election was expected. Quang is the latest in a line of top police officials to be elected to higher office.

Lawmakers next week elect a prime minister, who is head of government and in charge of the nation's economy.

This is a time of political transition for Vietnam as several top leaders retire. The country is also preparing for a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama in May.