Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI) on Thursday released 131 names of pro-environmental legislative candidates ahead of the parliamentary and presidential elections, due to be held simultaneously on April 17.

According to Head of WALHI's Political Desk Khalisah Khalid, among them include nine candidates of the Regional Representatives Council (DPD), 15 candidates of the House of Representatives (DPR), and 107 candidates of provincial and district/city legislative bodies across 28 provinces.

Details regarding the candidates' identities, their electoral districts, and pledges to care for environmental conservation, agrarian issues, and customary communities could be uploaded through this environment watchdog's Instagram handle @walhi.nasional, she said.

Khalid said the names were selected based on the outcome of WALHI's thorough study on the 2014 Parliamentary Elections, where only 0.2 percent of the total number of legislative candidates with good track records with regard to the environment grabbed seats in the parliament.

Using the previous parliamentary elections as a lesson, it was concluded that voter education was necessary so that the public would be wise in selecting their preferred legislative candidates, she said.

Khalid revealed that the environment was perceived as a peripheral issue in the parliament because it was seldom deliberated over during its plenary sessions between 2014 and 2019.

Thus, such environmental issues as those related to bills on customary communities and renewable energy had almost never been debated over in the parliament during the 2014-2019 term.

Instead, the bill on palm oil that threatens people's fate was deliberated over, she said, adding that environmental issues remain part of peripheral themes because politicians and political parties tend to campaign more about political identities.

"Actually, environmental issues are also closely related to political problems that need special attention," she said.

On April 17, around 192 million eligible voters across Indonesia will flock to polling booths to cast their votes for their representatives at the House of Representatives (DPR), Regional Representatives Council (DPD), as well as provincial and district/city legislative bodies.

They will also vote for their preferred pair of presidential and vice presidential candidates. EDITED BY INE

Translator: Sugiharto, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2019