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Legal Specialist

Baghdad (Iraq)

  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Baghdad (Iraq)
  • Grade: P-3, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Operations and Administrations
    • Legal - Broad
  • Closing Date: 2021-01-17

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UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.

The United Nations has been assisting Iraq with the establishment of the Electoral Management Body (initially Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, 2003, currently Independent High Electoral Commission), and the development of the institution’s capacities to administer electoral processes.

Despite major military operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), in November 2017, the political and security environment in the country remains complex and unpredictable.

Regardless of the efforts on the development of technical capacities within IHEC over the years, the credibility of the institution has been decreasing, particularly after the 2018 legislative elections.

Since October 2019 the country has experienced major public unrest through continuous demonstrations and sit-ins in Baghdad and all over the country. Amongst demands for better delivery of public services, the protesters also claimed for change of government, and organization of early elections – elections to be held before the normally expected date, which would be the end of the current legislature, in May 2022.

On 5 December the Council of Representatives voted on a new Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) that provides for nine commissioners from the judiciary, who took office on 13 January 2020. The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), through its Office of Electoral Assistance (OEA) has since then been working closely with the nine commissioners to enhance their understanding of the different electoral aspects. The new law also provides for changes to the positions of Director-General, both in headquarters and governorates offices, which has a strong impact on the existing technical capacity of the institution.

The current projects set up the framework for an intensified technical electoral assistance, with a strong presence of international experts in the various technical areas of the preparation of the electoral process, at headquarters and at the governorate electoral offices aiming at building the capacity of the electoral commission to administer elections in a professional and transparent manner in order to increase the process credibility.

The project will evolve around three outcomes:

  1. The electoral institution has the capacity to administer technically sound, credible, inclusive and sustainable elections;
  2. Improved public confidence and participation in the electoral process;
  3. Election-related complaints management before, during and after the election.


Duties and Responsibilities

Within delegated authority, the Legal Advisor will be responsible for the following duties:

  • Advise the IHEC on the implications of the legal framework for organizing the electoral process;
  • Provide legal assistance as required during the preparations for upcoming electoral processes, in particular, to highlight legal implications of decisions taken in the course of the electoral process;
  • Advise the IHEC on the development of regulations, procedures and mechanisms for elections and referenda;
  • Advise the IHEC in the interpretation and implementation of the provisions of this regulatory framework, if appropriate;
  • Based on international best practice, provide advice on regulations regarding the inclusive and transparent conduct of elections;
  • Provide guidance on the formulation of regulations and procedures to promote women as voters and candidates;
  • Provide advice regarding candidate-vetting procedures;
  • Provide advice regarding models and mechanisms to regulate and monitor campaign finances;
  • Support to public information initiatives regarding electoral legal reform;
  • Advise on international best practices on electoral management body composition and legal revisions thereof, insuring the IHEC independence and impartiality at the national and local levels;
  • Provide advice on electoral dispute resolution mechanisms based on international standards and best practice;
  • Advise on the processing of electoral complaints;
  • Design training programs on electoral systems, implications of electoral legislation using comparative examples, electoral dispute resolution mechanisms, and the processing of electoral complaints;
  • Provide legal advice regarding voter registration regulations and procedures;
  • Provide guidance on international best practices on the formulation of rules and procedures to ensure the inclusion of women, youth, persons with disabilities in the electoral process;
  • Perform any other relevant tasks as required.

Work implies frequent interaction with the following:

The OEA Director and other members of the UN electoral assistance office; senior staff and officers of IHEC and other national institutions involved in the electoral process; other staff and officers working at the UNAMI office in Baghdad.

Results Expected:

  • The support of the United Nations in the area of responsibility contributes to credible and inclusive elections, minimizing violence and maximizing the chances of legitimate government, peace and stability;
  • The United Nations mandated support in the area of responsibility is implemented effectively, using resources efficiently and minimizing risks to the organization;
  • The supervisor has access to accurate and timely information as well as advice on the electoral process and its implications.




  • Ability to make new and useful ideas work.

People Management

  • Ability to improve performance and satisfaction.


  • Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform.


  • Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement.



  • Demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter, notably in-depth understanding of and ability to evaluate electoral processes, knowledge of all aspects of electoral processes and their technical and political implications;
  • Provides leadership and takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work;
  • Demonstrates knowledge of strategies and commitment to the goal of gender balance in staffing; shows pride in work and in achievements;
  • Is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results;
  • Is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns;
  • Shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges;
  • Remains calm in stressful situations.


  • Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals;
  • Solicits input by genuinely valuing others' ideas and expertise;
  • Is willing to learn from others;
  • Places team agenda before personal agenda;
  • Supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position;
  • Shares credit for team accomplishments and accept joint responsibility for team shortcomings.


  • Speaks and writes clearly and effectively;
  • Listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately;
  • Asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication;
  • Tailors language, tone, style and format to match the audience;
  • Demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.

Planning and Organizing:

  • Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies;
  • Identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required;
  • Allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work;
  • Foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning; monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary;
  • Uses time efficiently.

Client Orientation:

  • Considers all those to whom services are provided to be “clients” and seeks to see things from clients’ point of view;
  • Establishes and maintains productive partnerships with clients by gaining their trust and respect;
  • Identifies clients’ needs and matches them to appropriate solutions;
  • Monitors ongoing developments inside and outside the clients' environment to keep informed and anticipate problems;
  • Keeps clients informed of progress or setbacks in projects;
  • Meets timeline for delivery of products or services to client.

Required Skills and Experience


  •  Advanced university degree (master’s degree or equivalent) in, Law, Political Science, International Relations, Public Administration, or a related field.  A first level university degree with additional 2 years of relevant experience will be accepted in lieu of an advanced university degree.


  • A minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible experience in an election and related areas in at least three countries; at least three years of experience in supervising, implementing, supporting or advising on electoral laws and regulations is required;
  • United Nations electoral experience in a peacekeeping operation political mission and/or a UN agency or other relevant international electoral experience is required;
  • Experience in developing countries is required, and experience in post-conflict situations is desirable;
  • Previous experience of managing a team of different backgrounds at the senior level and the ability to manage and coordinate complex projects are desirable;
  • Experience in bilateral or multilateral negotiations is desirable.

Female candidates are encouraged to apply; the candidate should be able to work in hardship conditions; the post requires considerable cultural and political sensitivity.


  • Fluency in spoken and written English required;
  • knowledge of Arabic language is an advantage.



Important information for US Permanent Residents ('Green Card' holders)

Under US immigration law, acceptance of a staff position with UNDP, an international organization, may have significant implications for US Permanent Residents. UNDP advises applicants for all professional level posts that they must relinquish their US Permanent Resident status and accept a G-4 visa, or have submitted a valid application for US citizenship prior to commencement of employment. 

UNDP is not in a position to provide advice or assistance on applying for US citizenship and therefore applicants are advised to seek the advice of competent immigration lawyers regarding any applications.

Applicant information about UNDP rosters

Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement.  We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.

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We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
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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