Labor Impeaches Party Secretary Implicated in Brawl, Police Row

Barak camp leads motion removing 'unpredictable' Marciano; MKs Noked, Avital and Pines-Paz eye position.

The Labor Party on Thursday impeached its disgraced party secretary, MK Yoram Marciano, and decided to hold elections to replace him at a still to be determined date.

Associates of party Chairman Ehud Barak filed the motion to remove Marciano, who was recently implicated as a participant in a pub brawl and pulled over by police when he was caught shaving while driving his car.

Barak allies said Labor needed a party secretary worthy of the party leader's trust and respect, and not an "unpredictable" and potentially rebellious figure.

Lead candidates to replace Marciano include the chairman of the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, MK Ophir Pines-Paz; former presidential hopeful Colette Avital and MK Orit Noked.

Pines-Paz is seen to be the leading the race, but many fear his outspoken opinions against the party's participation in the government may come in conflict with the position's responsibilities that include coordinating efforts with coalition parties.

"As chairman of the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee I must also coordinate with coalition parties," he retorted. "The party chairman has asked to speak to me and after the conversation I will know if I am a candidate."

Noked said she believed that she would offer her candidacy when an election date is set .

Both Noked and Pines-Paz supported Barak in the second round of the party leadership elections.

Avital, who recently lost in the presidential race to Kadima candidate Shimon Peres, said she needed to talk to the party chairman before announcing her candidacy, adding that the new party secretary needed to be someone who would strengthen party unity

"There's no point in being everyone's kindergarten teacher when everyone is running in the opposite direction," she said.

Two weeks ago, Marciano accused Barak of "acting behind my back regularly, from the moment he was elected. He wants to impeach me because I didn't vote for him in the party leadership elections."

In response to his impeachment, Marciano said Thursday that it is "not even on my agenda."