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Labor members impeached party whip MK Yoram Marciano Thursday, announcing that they would hold elections for a new whip within a few days.
The long-anticipated impeachment was filed by associates close to new Party Chairman Ehud Barak, who said the party needed a whip deserving of the public trust.
Marciano has experienced several blows to his credibility recently. Last month, he was pulled over by police for shaving while driving and, on Wednesday, Channel Two televised footage of a pub fight Marciano was involved in several months ago.
"There is a serious attempt being made to ruin [Marciano's] credibility. It is very clear that what is really happening is Barak trying to replace a [Amir] Peretz loyalist with one of his own people," said an aide close to Marciano.
MKs Ophir Paz-Pines, Orit Noked and Colette Avital are all considered frontrunners for the position, although none has officially submitted their candidacy.
While Paz-Pines has served as a minister in the past two governments and holds a high profile in the party, Labor officials said the party might choose to elect a more neutral candidate, such as Avital or Noked.
Both of those MKs said they would need to discuss the position with Barak to ensure that they would be given the freedom to reel in "rebel" party members.
Avital 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," said Avital, who recently lost the presidential race to Kadima candidate Shimon Peres after several Labor MKs who had sworn to vote for Avital reneged on their promises during the secret ballot.