Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai warned Thursday that crucial reforms were needed before credible elections could take place.
President Robert Mugabe has said he wanted early polls to be held in 2012 as his uneasy power-sharing deal with Tsvangirai was coming apart at the seams.
Speaking to lawmakers, Tsvangirai admitted the coalition had failed to deliver on most of its targets and had become unworkable.
"We have had our success stories but this government largely remains dysfunctional," said at his end-of-year address to parliament.
Tsvangirai led Mugabe, who has ruled since independence in 1980, in the first round of the 2008 presidential election but failed to win an outright majority. He pulled out of the run-off citing intimidation, handing victory to Mugabe.
Following an international outcry, sanctions on the ruling party and months of arduous negotiations, a power-sharing agreement was reached in which Mugabe kept his job and Tsvangirai became prime minister.
"The year 2012 must not be characterised by rhetoric about an early election that is not accompanied by the necessary reforms that will ensure a free and fair election," Tsvangirai said.
"Political stability is key to our prosperity as a nation and only a free and fair election can guarantee legitimacy, peace and stability."
At a conference of his ZANU-PF party last week, the 87-year-old Mugabe said Zimbabwe should hold a fresh election next year without fail, arguing that he power-sharing deal was "undemocratic and illegitimate." - ANP/AFP