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ROME (Reuters) - The Italian cabinet on Tuesday authorised a vote of confidence to try to force a contested electoral law through the lower house Chamber of Deputies, a government source said.

The new voting law, which would be used at a national election due by May next year, is backed by the ruling Democratic Party and other traditional parties and is fiercely opposed by the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement.

If the government loses a vote of confidence it is obliged to resign. There was no indication of when such a vote might be called, with the draft law due to be introduced to parliament later on Tuesday.

Confidence votes are often employed by governments in Italy as a way of pushing through legislation.

In this case, the motion will sweep aside dozens of expected secret votes on various aspects of the law, which would have allowed parliamentarians of all colours to upend the bill, as happened in June during a prior attempt to introduce new electoral rules.

President Sergio Mattarella, the only figure with the power to dissolve parliament, has demanded new voting rules be drawn up because at present there is too much divergence between the systems for electing members of the two houses of parliament.

Unlike the current system, the new law would allow the formation of broad coalitions head of a vote. The 5-Star, which refuses to join alliances, says this could cost it dozens of seats and has accused mainstream parties of seeking to prevent it from winning power.

(Reporting by Massimiliano Di Giorgio, writing by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Gavin Jones)

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