Officials of both factions of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change said the rival formations will pursue discussions early next year as to a coalition to increase MDC chances of success in national elections called for March.

But they dismissed reports that the opposition will attempt to reunite the MDC, which divided in late 2005, saying the two formations will remain separate entities.

Senior official Samuel Sipepa Nkomo of the MDC grouping led by Morgan Tsvangirai explained the coalition approach to reporter Ntungamili Nkomo.

Deputy spokesman Abednico Bhebhe of the Arthur Mutambara formation confirmed his party backs the coalition strategy which will be refined in the coming weeks.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...