Hong Kong’s Chief Executive CY Leung said on Thursday afternoon that millions of Hongkongers had been “literally disappointed” by the pan-democrats voting down Beijing’s controversial 2017 political reform package.

In a stern press conference after 28 legislators voted down the proposals for electing the city’s leader in 2017, Leung said pan-democrats had “rejected most of Hong Kong residents’ wishes, denying the democratic right to elect the Chief Executive through universal suffrage.”

He said: “Universal suffrage for the chief executive election has been blocked. Universal suffrage to elect all members of LegCo is now also uncertain.”

He added: “It’s time for the community to move on. In the coming two years the Hong Kong government will focus the efforts on various economic development and livelihood issues. The civil service will continue to serve the public with devotion and professionalism.

“I sincerely hope that the community can close differences and work together for the common good of Hong Kong.”

The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC), Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative have also responded negatively to the vetoing of the political reform proposal. The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office said in a statement that “this is the result the Central Government doesn’t want to see”.

Beijing’s plan would have allowed some five million Hongkongers to vote on the next chief executive – but from a pool of just two or three candidates vetted by a pro-Beijing committee.

Leung’s statement to the press came after 28 pan-democrat legislators rejected the political reform package. With only eight legislators voting in support of the reform package, due to a walkout by pro-Beijing legislators, the figure was well short of the two-thirds majority required to pass the reforms.

Only 37 legislators were present for the vote following the walkout, which was staged in an attempt to force a 15-minute recess. Pro-Beijing lawmakers had hoped the extra time would allow one of their absent colleagues to get to the chamber to cast another vote in their favour.

Paul Benedict Lee

Paul Benedict Lee is an undergraduate law student at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Paul has previously contributed to HK Magazine and Radio Television Hong Kong, covering issues ranging from local heritage conservation to arts features. He has also worked as a legal intern at local human rights firm Daly & Associates.