Vietnam president
Vietnam president

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.