Red communist flags line every street in Hanoi as Vietnam kicks off proceedings for the Communist Party's 13th National Congress to choose the country's new leaders.
During the quinquennial congress, which starts on Monday and runs until February 2, the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) will set major policy for the next five years and appoint a new party chief, president, prime minister, and chairman of the National Assembly.
Nearly 1600 visiting delegates, chosen from more than five million party members, will elect a new 200-member central committee.
This latter group will elect a new politburo comprised of between 17 and 19 members, who will ultimately elect the party's key 'four-pillar' leadership.
While Vietnam's National Congress is considered the nation's most significant political event, the occasion often serves in reality as a rubber-stamp procedure to confirm decisions already made during the central committee meetings, the most recent of which concluded in mid-January.
Incumbent general secretary of Vietnam's Communist Party, 76-year-old Nguyen Phu Trong, is widely tipped by analysts to remain in power for a third term, with the party adjusting the rules to allow someone of his age to stay in office.
Vietnam's current Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc is considered a frontrunner to take up the largely ceremonial position of president.
Pham Minh Chinh, who heads the party's organisation committee, is the favourite to succeed Phuc as prime minister while Vuong Dinh Hue, the party chief of Hanoi, is expected to be appointed the new chairman of the National Assembly, Vietnam's principal legislative body.
Australian Associated Press