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“We are proud to have elected her,” said Muris Karavdic, 38, a local- small-business owner. “It doesn’t matter whether she covers her head or not. She is smart and knows finances.”

Mrs. Babic sees her victory as breaking multiple barriers, from bigotry against women in a traditionally male-dominated society to stigmatization of the hijab that sprang up under the communist regime.

“Finally we have overcome our own prejudices,” she said. “The one about women in politics, then the one about hijab-wearing women — and even the one about hijab-wearing women in politics.”

Mrs. Babic, of the center-right Party for Democratic Action, decided to wear her headscarf after her husband was killed fighting in the Bosnian Army, and views it as “a human right.”

Religion and hard work helped her overcome his death, raise their three boys alone and pursue a career.

Mrs. Babic said she is ready to work round-the-clock and prove people in Visoko made the right choice. This, she hopes, may clear the way for more women to follow her path.

By Bosnian law, at least 30 percent of the candidates in any election have to be women, but voters have been reluctant to give women a chance. Only five of the 185 mayors elected on Oct. 7 are women.