Hong Kong, China – Hong Kong’s leader-in-waiting, John Lee, has likened himself to a conductor with the ability to lead a “new symphony” for the global financial hub.

Lee, who is running unopposed as the only “validly nominated candidate” in a tightly-controlled, small-circle election on May 8, has his work cut out for him.

Lee will inherit a city languishing from two years of political crackdowns and strict pandemic policies, which have fuelled an exodus of highly-skilled professionals and turned the once-thriving international business centre into one of the world’s most isolated cities.

Rolling out his 44-page political manifesto last week, Lee promised to breathe life back into the economy, tackle the city’s housing crisis, curb rising unemployment and strengthen governance.