Former security chief Tran Dai Quang sworn in as Vietnam's new president

Quang, 59, is a former police general from the ministry of public security.

Tran Dai Quang, a former head of Vietnam's internal security organisation, has been sworn in as the country's new president.

Quang, 59, was the only candidate the ruling Communist Party nominated for presidency during its five-yearly conference in January.

His nomination was approved by Vietnam's parliament with 460 of the 465 lawmakers who cast votes supporting him.

Quang is a former police general from the ministry of public security, which has sweeping powers including intelligence gathering and handling of internal and external threats to the Communist Party.

The presidency is one of the three paramount positions of power in Vietnam, where the Communist Party wields overarching control of government. The other two supreme political positions are those of the prime minister and the Communist Party chief.

The 19-member politburo of the party is the highest panel that tops off the complex power hierarchy in the country.

In the January meeting, Vietnam's Communist Party re-elected Nguyen Phu Trong as the general-secretary for a second term.

Vietnam's over 9 million population does not directly take part in the election of their leaders. The all powerful communist party, which has more than 4 million members, reserves the right to choose the rulers.

Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Vietnam in May, the first visit to the country by a US president in a decades. Talks could likely focus on Vietnam's human rights record and the suppression of dissent.

Vietnam's single party communist government has often been criticised for jailing dissidents, free thinkers and bloggers.

Last week, a Vietnamese court sentenced prominent blogger Nguyen Huu Vinh to five years in prison for allegedly publishing anti-state articles.