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JARKARTA, INDONESIA. Rustriningsih broke all norms three years ago when she was elected Bupati, a title similar to that of regional governor. One of only 5 women among more than 400 Bupati there, the 36-year-old has a reputation for being rigorously honest, a rare attribute in a country that regularly scores in international surveys as among the world's most corrupt.
Because Ms. Rustriningsih has done such audacious things as appoint school principals on the basis of merit rather than bribery, she has been invited by the United States Agency for International Development to seminars to explain her methods. The Australian ambassador, keen to give assistance to projects that are not riddled with graft, invited her to a cocktail party. The World Bank has held her up as the paradigm of a new, clean Indonesia.