Barak set to fire Labor faction chair Marciano

Police bristling over MK's alleged flight from ticket for shaving while driving.

Labor chairman Ehud Barak intends to dismiss flamboyant Labor faction chairman Yoram Marciano after the two men fought on Monday over whether the faction should meet. Marciano is expected to convene his last faction meeting next Monday and leave his position over the Knesset's summer recess that begins the following day. Barak is leaning toward replacing Marciano with Knesset Interior Committee chairman Ophir Paz-Pines and appointing MK Orit Noked to head the committee. "Barak expected Yoram to leave the job quietly over the summer," a source close to the Labor leader said. "He didn't want it to look like a political assassination, which it would have been had he fired him the day after the Labor primary." Monday's incident began when Marciano decided not to convene the faction because he and his political ally, former Labor chairman Amir Peretz, wanted to attend the funeral of a Labor central committee member in Lod. When Barak's assistant Dana Zeidman informed Marciano that the faction would meet without him, he shouted at her: "You can't have a faction without me!" Marciano then convened reporters in the Knesset cafeteria and told them that the meeting was canceled. He accused Barak of conspiring against him and not acting collegially. "I expect Barak to not work behind the back of someone elected by law," Marciano said. The faction did end up meeting and almost every Labor MK other than Marciano and Peretz attended. Labor Secretary-General Eitan Cabel led the meeting. The faction decided that whenever the faction chairman cannot come to a meeting, the secretary-general of the party will replace him. The incident was the second time in under a week that Marciano made headlines under dubious circumstances. His picture was on the cover of Friday's Hebrew papers after he fled from police late Thursday night while they were writing him a ticket for shaving while driving. The police volunteer who issued the ticket said that Marciano tried telling him that he could not give him a ticket because he is an MK. He said that after he informed Marciano that his superviser told him that MKs could be given tickets, Marciano grabbed his license and drove away. Marciano, who was recently cleared of charges that he attacked a bouncer at a night club, will face a NIS 500 fine for not keeping both hands on the wheel, and could face a maximum of three years in jail if he is convicted of interfering with a police officer's work. Marciano said after the incident that he was not aware that shaving while driving was illegal and that he drove away because he thought the ticket could be sent to him in the mail. He accused police of trying to "spin a headline" at his expense.