Why are there so many large, metal boards springing up across France?

Why are there so many large, metal boards springing up across France?
Photo: AFP
If you live in France you won't have failed to notice the large, metal boards springing up across the country's villages, towns and cities. So, what's going on?

Most French villages are pretty tight on space to begin with but at the moment they're fit to bursting – not due to a random influx of tourists… but instead because tiny streets are being filled up with large metal boards. 

And this is happening in French towns and cities too. 

Here's a look at why pedestrians across France are now competing for space on the pavements.

What are the metal boards?

The reason for the invasion is all down to the European elections. 
French mayors are required by law to erect as many metal boards as there are political groups competing in any election.
That rule goes for small villages as well as large cities and it can put strain on places where there is limited available space. 
The European elections are due to take place on May 26th and mayors have been obliged to provide enough space for the election posters since Sunday. 

Why are they such a big problem this year?

This year there are a record number of political lists for the European elections, with 34 registered groups… which, you guessed it, means 34 metal boards. 

In many villages, such as Malloué in the Normandy region of Calvados, the situation is particularly bizarre, with the number of boards outnumbering the number of residents who can vote. 

In this northwestern French village, 34 boards and posters are being put up to guide and influence the votes of just 22 people.

And then there's the cost…

The high number of parties involved in this year's European elections is also putting pressure on the mayors' budgets in small villages where they don't already have the required number of boards.

“We have neither the means to buy them, nor the space to install them” said the mayor of Lempire, a village in the northen French department of Aisne, Thierry Cornaille.

The boards cost €100 each, according to the French press – no small sum for a tiny village. 

How do I vote in the European elections?

Irritation aside, this year's European elections are fast approaching and you may well want to vote in them. 

Here's a look at how you can still participate: What you need to know about voting in the crucial European elections

What you need to know about voting in the crucial European electionsPhoto: AFP

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