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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 June, 2004, 00:17 GMT 01:17 UK
Indonesian voters: Former protester
Raymond Sinaga
Raymond Sinaga says the elections will have no effect
Ahead of Indonesia's first direct presidential election on 5 July, BBC News Online has been hearing from a range of voters about their hopes and expectations.

Raymond Sinaga, a Jakarta-based web producer, is downbeat about the upcoming election, despite playing a role in Indonesia's democracy movement.

As a student he took part in widespread protests which helped end the regime of former strongman Suharto in 1998.

But Mr Sinaga feels his first presidential vote will be wasted in the current political climate.

This is not what we wanted in the demonstrations

"I feel that nothing will change in Indonesia, especially for the people of Indonesia, because all of the candidates are the same, because they don't offer anything that will change the condition of Indonesia," he said.

"All the candidates said that they will fight against corruption, fight for human rights, fight for democracy etc. Those programmes are just political jargon...

"This is not what we wanted in the demonstrations [of the 1990s]. We wanted to make a clean government, all the New Order [Suharto era] people to leave," he said.

"But realities really bite," he said. "Almost all Suharto's bureaucrats are now getting stronger with their position nowadays. Meanwhile some new faces in this new regime act just like all Suharto's bureaucrats."

Demonstrations in Indonesia
The effects of the 1990s protests are still being felt

Mr Sinaga said the two leading candidates - General Wiranto and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono - both had military backgrounds, and as such, "will act like Suharto, I think, although it might be softer than Suharto".

The other prominent candidate, incumbent President Megawati Sukarnoputri, was not an attractive prospect either, Mr Sinaga said.

"Megawati, I think she did nothing for this country. I don't see any change economically or [in terms of] stability. There is conflict everywhere and she can't stop it. She came to nothing," he said.

Mr Sinaga said there had been some positive changes after the fall of Suharto, including a freer press, but this appeared to have been undermined during President Megawati's term.

As for Mr Yudhoyono, the current favourite, Mr Sinaga said his decision to resign from Megawati's cabinet to run against her undermined his credibility.

"It shows he has no integrity," he said.

"I am really disappointed with this situation."


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