Nguyen Phu Trongimage copyrightReuters
image captionThis makes Nguyen Phu Trong one of the country's strongest and longest-serving leaders

Vietnam's ruling Community Party has re-elected its 76-year-old chief Nguyen Phu Trong for a rare third five-year term.

He received an exemption to contest as he was above the age limit of 65.

This makes him one of the country's strongest and longest-serving leaders in decades.

His leadership will have to look at the crucial next five years amid the country's largely successful battle against Covid-19 and a booming economy.

Mr Trong is known for his "blazing furnace" war against corruption launched in 2016, which saw many high-ranking officials sent to jail.

His re-election as party general secretary came at a party congress in Hanoi, where delegates from across the country held meetings - mostly behind closed doors. The Congress is held every five years.

Vietnam, which has a communist government, does not have a single strongman at the helm. There are four main jobs that collectively run the show: The Communist Party general secretary, the prime minister, the president and the chair of the National Assembly.

The vote for those four jobs moves upward along a pyramid. Every five years, about 1,600 delegates vote some 200 members into the Central Committee. That committee then picks the politburo of about 20. Out of those, the four top jobs are nominated.

While this reads like a democratic process from the bottom up, there's usually extensive political manoeuvring beforehand and the selections are predetermined.

Vietnam is one of Asia's fastest growing economies. While the global pandemic is expected to pull much of the world into a recession, the country will try to retain its growth.

Just late last year, the growth target for 2021 was set at an ambitious 6.5%. In 2020, it had slowed to 2.9%, the lowest level in more than 30 years - but the country is still doing better than most of the rest of the world.