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The Vietnamese legislature is the unicameral National Assembly, from which the Prime Minister is selected.
In practice, the President's position is only ceremonial, with the Prime Minister wielding the most authority in government.
Vietnam's history is one of war, colonisation and rebellion.
Occupied by China no fewer than four times, the Vietnamese managed to fight off the invaders just as often.
The economy is much stronger than those of Cambodia, Laos, and other neighbouring developing countries.
Like most Communist countries around the world, there is a fine balance between allowing foreign investors and opening up the market.
According to government estimates Vietnam sees 3.3m tourist arrivals each year.
Vietnam (Việt Nam), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Cộng hòa Xã hội Chủ nghĩa Việt Nam) is a long, thin country in Southeast Asia.
Its neighbouring countries are China to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west.
Two years later, on 30 April 1975, a North Vietnamese tank drove into the South's Presidential Palace in Ho Chi Minh City and the war ended with the conquest of South Vietnam.
An estimated 800,000 to 3 million Vietnamese and over 55 thousand Americans had been killed.
After a brief Japanese occupation in World War II, the Communist Việt Minh under the leadership of Hồ Chí Minh continued the insurgency against the French, with the last Emperor Bảo Đại abdicating in 1945 and a proclamation of independence following soon after.