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Head, Elections Department

Warsaw (Poland)


The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) is the principal institution of the OSCE responsible for the human dimension. ODIHR is active throughout the OSCE area in the fields of election observation, democratic development, human rights, tolerance and non-discrimination, and the rule of law. ODIHR’s assistance projects and other activities are implemented in participating States in accordance with ODIHR’s mandate.

ODIHR’s reputation as a leading agency in the field of election observation is built upon its systematic, comprehensive and verifiable election observation methodology, which involves the deployment of a number of observation field missions each year, and the related operational planning and support (administrative, budgetary and logistic) to ensure a quality output. In recent years, the ODIHR Election Department activities have expanded at a rate exponential to the increased demands for its services.  Delivery of the above requires a complex range of sustained field activities, and includes the deployment of several hundred election experts and long-term observers and around 3,000 short-term observers each year. The integrated work plan of the Election Department also includes a number of extra-budgetary projects with a total overall budget amounting to on average EUR 4 million in addition to some EUR 6.5 million under the Unified Budget for the Elections Programme. This requires efficient, sustainable and reliable management to permit effective implementation of election-observation activities, follow-up activities, assistance, training and other projects as well as legal reviews. 

Tasks and Responsibilities

Under the overall authority of the Director and the direct supervision of the First Deputy Director of ODIHR, the Head of the Election Department performs the following functions:   

  • Analyzes political changes and trends throughout the OSCE region in order to provide regular advice to the ODIHR Director and First Deputy Director on developments as they affect the planning of election activities; 
  • Formulates, initiates and develops conceptual approaches for the implementation of Election Observation (EOMs), Assessment (EAMs) and Expert (EETs) Missions, follow-up activities, technical assistance and extra-budgetary initiatives/programmes;
  • Consults with representatives of participating States (OSCE delegations in Vienna and in the field) to review priorities and mandates in the light of the latest developments;
  • Plans and directs all activities of the Election Department, including developing ODIHR’s Election Observation Methodology and reviewing regularly progress in project implementation to ensure adherence to deadlines and to budget limits;
  • Monitors and advises on developments in the legal and regulatory framework for elections throughout the OSCE region;
  • Plans, supervises and reports on the implementation of Needs Assessment Missions, Election Observation Missions, Election Assessment Missions and other election-related activities; 
  • Oversees the budget and work plan preparation of the Department and supervises implementation;
  • Develops and maintains relations with the delegations of the OSCE participating States, OSCE Secretariat, other Institutions and Field operations, international organisations, academic institutions, experts and NGOs;
  • Represents the Office at international conferences and meetings;
  • Assesses the viability of technical assistance projects proposed by Election Advisers and evaluates the outcome/impact of such activities; 
  • Performs related duties as requested.

Necessary Qualifications:

  • Advanced university degree in political science, law, social sciences, international relations, public policy or a related field;
  • Minimum of ten years of progressively responsible work experience in government, inter-governmental organizations, or relevant non-governmental organizations is required, with extensive comparative election observation or assistance experience, or election management experience as well as relevant legal knowledge to identify areas for improvement in election legislation; 
  • Management experience essential;
  • Demonstrated experience in managing large scale programmes, including project development, budget, management and evaluation;
  • Excellent presentation and communication skills;
  • Excellent analytical skills and political intuition;
  • Specialization in OSCE region desirable;
  • International organization experience desirable;
  • Excellent knowledge of English with outstanding and precise drafting skills is essential; working knowledge of Russian or another OSCE language is desirable;
  • Computer literate with practical experience in Microsoft applications;
  • Ability to work with people with different national, religious or cultural backgrounds;
  • Demonstrated gender awareness and sensitivity, and ability to integrate a gender perspective into tasks and activities.

Remuneration Package

Monthly remuneration, subject to social security deductions as well as monthly changes of the post adjustment multiplier and exchange rate, is approximately EUR 7 300 (single rate) and approximately EUR 7 800 (dependency rate). OSCE salaries are exempt from taxation in Poland.

Social security will include participation in the Cigna medical insurance scheme and OSCE Provident Fund maintained by the OSCE. The Organization contributes an amount equivalent to 15% of the employee's salary to this Fund and the employee contributes 7.5%. Other allowances and benefits are similar to those offered under the United Nations Common System.

Appointments are normally made at step 1 of the applicable OSCE salary scale.

How to Apply?

If you wish to apply for this position, please use the OSCE's online application link found under

The OSCE retains the discretion to re-advertise the vacancy, to cancel the recruitment, to offer an appointment at a lower grade or to offer an appointment with a modified job description or for a different duration. 

Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

Please note that vacancies in the OSCE are open for competition only amongst nationals of participating States, please see

The OSCE is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious, ethnic and social backgrounds to apply to become a part of the Organization.

The OSCE is a non-career organization committed to the principle of staff rotation, therefore the maximum period of service in this post is 5 years. 

Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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  • Organization: OSCE - Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights
  • Location: Warsaw (Poland)
  • Grade: Senior
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Human Rights
    • Management, Administration and Finance
    • Political Affairs
    • Elections
  • Closing Date: 2015-09-17

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