The Hong Kong government's former No. 2, John Lee, has been confirmed as the sole candidate running in the city's leadership election slated for May 8 as the government on Thursday closed candidacy applications and received only Lee's bid.

The chief executive election would be a confidence vote on Lee, a security hard-liner and the only candidate favored by Beijing. But he is seen as sure to be elected given his majority support in the Election Committee that will vote for the leader.

John Lee speaks to reporters after meeting with members of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong on April 11, 2022, in Hong Kong. (Getty/Kyodo)

In the 1,454-member committee mainly consisting of pro-Beijing members, Lee reportedly received 786 nominations, indicating that he would win the confidence and possibly govern the city under tightened control by the mainland government.

The former police officer has also garnered support from Hong Kong's top property tycoons and political heavyweights, according to the reports.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Lee will be sworn into office on July 1, the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's handover from Britain to China and the halfway point of Beijing's "one country, two systems" policy which was put in place in 1997 and was set to last for 50 years until 2047.

Before being elevated to the No. 2 post, Lee served as secretary for security and directed the police response to large-scale protests during the 2019 anti-government movement.

During his tenure as the top security official, the Hong Kong government cracked down on pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, causing the paper to fold on June 24, 2021.

A day after the paper's closure, Lee was promoted to chief secretary for administration.

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