Czech independent senator Martin Mejstrik turned the protracted Czech presidential election Friday into a momentary Latin lesson when he peppered his speech with classical quotes. In all, the 45-year-old former student leader of the 1989 Velvet Revolution threw in Latin phrases nine times, including quotes by such classics as Roman poet Ovid, philosopher Seneca the younger and emperor Tiberius.
"Iniuriam ipse facias, ubi non vindices" or "when you do not punish injustice you make yourself guilty", he cited a maxim by Latin writer Publilius Syrus as he lambasted one of the candidates, incumbent Vaclav Klaus.
Klaus, who is known for flashing his intellectual abilities, was not enjoying Mejstrik's penchant for Latin in person as he left the hall during the previous speech by another political opponent.
A rare self-described "Latin enthusiast" among Czech politicians, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, was not able to appreciate the shower of Latin phrases either. "It is praiseworthy but I was sitting behind him and could not hear him well," he said.