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Electoral Support Specialist Legal Framework IEC (Re-advertised)

Kabul (Afghanistan)

  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Kabul (Afghanistan)
  • Grade: P-4, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Operations and Administrations
    • International Relations
    • Legal - Broad
    • Elections
    • Democratic Governance
    • Education, Learning and Training
  • Closing Date: 2021-06-17

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Organizational Context
The UN Electoral Support Project (UNESP) is the international community’s programming vehicle to support elections in Afghanistan, including the presidential, parliamentary and district council elections. The project has two overall objectives – 1) to build the capacity of the Afghan electoral institutions—the Independent Elections Commission and the Electoral Complaints Commission—to implement elections in line with the national electoral legal framework and Afghanistan’s international commitments; 2) to allow a programming mechanism for the international community to partially finance the elections as per the request of the Government of Afghanistan. The project follows previous UN projects in support of the Afghan electoral process, most notably the Enhancing Legal and Electoral Capacity for Tomorrow (ELECT) projects, from 2006-2011 (ELECT I) and 2012-2015 (ELECT II), and the UNDP Project Initiation Plan (July 2015 – October 2017). In line  the UN Security Council Resolution 2489 (SCR2489), UNESP places the UN’s electoral support to Afghanistan directly under the political and supervisory oversight of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), and reflects the growing sustainability of the Afghan electoral process, as evidenced by the Government of Afghanistan’s financial commitment to both electoral institutions, and the provision of significant in-kind support to the implementation of elections. Project implementation support will be provided by the UNDP Country Office, reporting, on fiduciary and operational matters, to the UNAMA Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Political through the UNDP Resident Representative.
In response to the Independent Election Commission (IEC)’s request for continued electoral assistance, a desk review, led by the Electoral Assistance Division (EAD), was conducted—in July 2020—in collaboration with UNAMA, UNDP, DPPA-DPO Asia Pacific Division/Afghanistan Team and UN Women. The desk review assessed  the current electoral context and parameters of support in light of a) the delayed parliamentary elections in Ghazni, b) the likelihood of holding provincial council, district council and municipal elections, c) uncertainty of electoral reforms, and d) coronavirus (COVID-19) implications. In light of uncertainties resulting from COVID-19 and other uncertainties, the desk review recommends for more focused support in the areas of further Capacity Building for the EMBs; technical support in Electoral Legal Framework; Support to Voter registration (VR); and Building confidence in elections. 
Along the lines of the above-mentioned desk review recommendations, UNESP will revise/update its Project Document and Annual Work Plan (AWP) and seek donors’ approval for a No-Cost Extension to 31 December 2021. Additional funding may be requested when necessary. Project staffing is being adjusted to reflect the realities of the situation. 

Duties and Responsibilities

Organizational   Context   of the Post
Under the overall guidance of the Deputy Chief Electoral Advisor / Project Manager, and direct supervision  of the Senior Electoral Operations Specialist, Electoral Support Specialist’s  Legal Framework IEC (Legal), primary task will be for her / him  to provide legal advice and / or to develop IEC capacity, and will systematically refer to the 2020 Independent Election Commission (IEC) Lesson Learnt Report and the IEC Capacity Needs Assessment and other relevant documents as source to carry out her/his work. She / He will be embedded with the IEC Legal Department and will be responsible for continuously providing technical advice and help to develop the technical capacity of IEC in the relevant areas of the electoral activities. 
The Electoral   Support Specialist Legal Framework IEC (Legal),  shall not provide  advice or assistance of a legal nature relating to corporate, commercial, institutional or administrative law and issues, including issues related to the administration of UN personnel and staff members, which is the mandate of the Legal Support Office/ Office of Operations, Legal & Technology Services.
Summary of key functions:
  • Electoral Advisory Support
  • Coordination and Partnerships
  • Ensures Knowledge management to build the capacity required

Electoral Advisory Support

  • Review of existing laws to identify the gaps and make recommendations for legal reforms required to change the electoral system.
  • Review the constitutional provisions of Afghanistan, existing electoral laws, and rules and regulations to provide advice on international best practice and transparent conduct of inclusive elections including fraud mitigation.
  • Develop and present background paper on the current electoral processes in Afghanistan and problems in legislation.  
  • Based on the background paper, support EMBs to form a legal committee comprising of members of EMBs, external electoral experts, gender, and experts on persons with special needs including persons with disabilities, Judicial experts etc. to review the items identified in the background paper and provide recommendations for reforms.
  • Provide advice on the drafting of legal and technical proposals for amendment of the Election Law for submission to Ministry of Justice and ensuring the incorporation of legal committee recommendations and drafting of electoral laws.
  • Provide legal advice regarding voter registration regulations and procedures in the areas of cleaning up voter lists.
  • Provide advice on formulation of regulations and procedures to strengthen the participation of women as voters and candidates.
  • Provide advice on formulation of regulations and procedures to strengthen the participation of persons with special needs as voters and candidates.
  • Provide advice regarding candidate vetting procedures and models and mechanisms to regulate and monitor campaign finances.
  • Providing advice on the drafting of codes of conduct and other regulation for candidates, political parties, media and observers.
  • Review of best international practices on MDR or similar systems to provide technical and expert advice to the EMB on planning and holding future elections.
  • Development of different regulations and procedures required for implementation of the new electoral system and processes.
  • Identification of legal requirements (changes in electoral law and accompanying regulation) necessary in the implementation of a biometric voter registration and verification processes.
  • Identification of legal requirements (changes in electoral law and accompanying regulation) necessary in the implementation of a collaboration with the Civil Registry authorities with an aim of conducting voter registration.
  • Drafting MoUs with other government agencies  regarding the electoral system, if the choice of biometric voter registration requires it.
  • Development of advisory documents that identify legal requirements that would guide the institution’s the use of biometrics for future voter registration events, voter verification and administrative uses.
  • Compilation and pre-approval (internally) a list of election symbols to be used to distribute to candidates according to the lottery method for Provincial Council, district council and other elections planned.
  • Prepare briefing papers and talking points on electoral matters for the UNAMA, UNDP, UNESP and other stakeholders as required.
Coordination and Partnerships
  • Assist in holding consultative meetings with relevant stakeholders to discuss recommendations for legal reforms to be presented to reforms body that are required to change or implement the new electoral system.
  • Provide advice on electoral dispute resolution mechanisms based on international standards and best practice. 
  • Advise on how electoral complaints should be handled and assist in designing training programmes on handling of electoral complaints.
Ensures Knowledge management to build the capacity required
  • Work closely with the relevant staff of the IEC Legal Department and the IEC Procedures & Training Department.
  • Material development and training of relevant staff in understanding and implementing the electoral system as well as legal implications in the use of biometric technology in election processes.
  • Material development in understanding the legal requirements for a civic-voter registration collaboration process.
  • Based on international best practice provide advice in relation to electoral reforms and the law on structures and working procedures of the IEC.
  • Work closely with the Procedures and Training Advisers on the drafting of election related procedures and training manuals.
  • Build capacity of the IEC Legal Department staff in drafting of legal provisions and regulations related to the legal framework 
  • Assist and advice on the composition of all regulations in a unified book form for ready reference of EMB staff and relevant stakeholders in order to adjust the regulations keeping in view the legal reforms for change/implementing MDR electoral system.
  • Contribute to UNESP regular reporting and to documentation of UNESP capacity development support to IEC for best practice knowledge sharing. 


  • Innovation
Ability to make new and useful ideas work
  • Leadership
Ability to persuade others to follow
  • People Management
Ability to improve performance and satisfaction
  • Communication
Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform
  • Delivery
Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement 
  • Collaboration and Partnership
Ability to develop, maintain, and strengthen partnerships with others inside (Programmes/projects) or outside the organization who can provide information, assistance, and support.  Sets overall direction for the formation and management of strategic relationships contributing to the overall positioning of UNDP.
  • Risk Management
Ability to identify and prioritize risks, and organize action around mitigating them.
  • Substantive Networking
Ability to substantively engage and foster networks with academia, research institutions, and think tanks.
  • Knowledge Management
Ability to capture, develop, share and effectively use information and knowledge.
  • Management & Coordination
Ability to manage and coordinate campaigns and people with inspiration. Believe in and promote diversity in the workplace and reshaping the workforce to meet need.


Required Skills and Experience

  • Master's Degree in Law, LLM or equivalent.
  • A minimum of  seven (7) years of progressively responsible  experience in democratic governance and / or electoral legislation / technical electoral assistance.
  • Experience in working with electoral management bodies (EMB’s) or tribunals.
  • Experience in working in post conflict / developing countries. 
  • Experience of electoral assistance advisory and project management at the international level.
  • Experience in electoral systems (open list, closed list, proportional representation, first-past-the-post, single non-transferable vote etc.) and election dispute resolution systems.
  • Has experience and familiarity with International standards and best practices in electoral framework legislation. 
  • Has experience in producing reports and high-level political analysis papers relating to electoral framework reforms.
Language Requirements:
  • Fluency in oral and written English is required.



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