In 1954 Vietnam was separated into the communist controlled north and non communist south at the 17th parallel.

The communist army or Viet Minh had been led by Ho Chi Minh since 1941 and in a series of wars and skirmishes had attempted to declare independence from French Indochina. Once free of France, following the Geneva Agreement of 1954, the two parts of Vietnam entered into a two decade long war which involved the United States.

In 1976 the communists finally prevailed and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) was created in the July. Since then political power has remained in the hands of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) and no other political parties are allowed. There is no separation of powers between the executive, legislature and judicial branches.

Since the mid 1980s the economy of Vietnam has moved from a centrally planned economy to a socialist oriented planned market economy. Since then the economy has seen rapid growth but without any sign of political change being permitted.

The President is elected by the National Assembly from among its members for a five year term.

A unicameral National Assembly or Quoc Hoi with 500 members is elected by popular vote to serve five year terms.

The Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2016 places Vietnam at joint 113th out of 176 countries with a CPI 2016 score of 33 (where 100 is least corrupt).