Sloup’s rise to become education councilor in the northern region of Karlovy Vary has aroused protests by students and former dissidents that demonstrate the strength of emotion, but the 63-year-old refuses to quit because of his past.

“I carried out my duties when Europe was divided by an Iron Curtain, and it was in accordance with laws of the time,” he said. “I have nothing to be ashamed of.”…

Should they refuse to deal with the Communists, the country would most likely face an awkward coalition of left and right parties that could stall policymaking

“There is still a Communist party running in elections and getting real support. We can’t behave like they are not democratic,” said Jiri Dienstbier Jr., 43, a party deputy chairman who was active in the 1989 anti-Communist movement and whose father was once jailed with Vaclav Havel for dissent.