BAGHDAD, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Iraqi election officials have ensured that female candidates will receive appropriate representation at the provincial level, the U.N. envoy to Iraq said.
U.N. special envoy to Iraq Staffan de Mistura said the Independent High Electoral Commission of Iraq had set aside special provisions to make sure women had a fair chance to take provincial council seats in the Jan. 31 elections, the U.N. News Service reported.
"The IHEC has determined that among winning lists of three or more candidates, at least one winning candidate must be a woman among every three," de Mistura said.
IHEC commissioners are working with representatives from the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq to ensure elections are free and fair.
There were earlier debates on the provision as the language allegedly is unclear on whether that meant every third seat would go to a female candidate, or every fourth seat.
De Mistura said the provisions on female candidates, however, were consistent with the benchmarks established by the international community.
"This is consistent with international best practice and, if properly applied, as we are working to see is the case, should ensure that women will have a central and important place on the newly elected councils," he said.