Under increasing pressure not only from the citizenry of Kırğızstan Province, but also from the Progressive Party hierarchy, Governor Sopu Bayal-ulı Bek announced his resignation today.
"Governor Sopu Bek continues to strenuously deny the allegations of complicity in the corruption that has been unearthed in Kırğızstan Province," said a statement released by his office.  "However, public opinion has become so inflamed that the Governor can no longer properly discharge the responsibilities of his position.  In the interests of Province, Country and Party, he is stepping down as Governor pending immediate elections."
The Governor's decision struck many protesters as an admission of guilt.  "If he were innocent of the charges, surely he would have stayed in his position," stated Mııras Çoqan-ulı, a spokesman for the Campaign for Ethical Government, a leading anticorruption group in Turkestan.
Others, though a distinct minority, were not so sure.  "It may come down to the question of proof," said Rohıla Orun Baı-qızı, a Turkestani political analyst.  "He may, in fact, be not guilty of the charges, but it is extremely difficult to prove that you didn't know about something."
With the resignation of a full Provincial Governor and ex officio member of the Keņes because of this corruption scandal, many are asking how much further the rot goes.  The Progressive Party in particular are facing an increasingly hostile climate of opinion, but it is not only former Governor Sopu Bek's Progressives that are the focus of outrage.
"We have caught a Provincial Governor turning a blind eye to corruption in his own anticorruption watchdog," said Mııras Çoqan-ulı.  "The people of Turkestan are asking how deep this canker goes, how far it has spread.  How many more Governors will be caught in similar scandals?  How many more Keņesçis have dirty hands?"
One thing seems certain:
Barely half a year into a new 6-year term of office, the Turkestani government is embroiled in a scandal that has all the makings of a major political crisis.
 


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