On 21 September, the High Council of State (HCS), a consultative body enshrined by the LPA, announced that it was ‘compelled’ to take over full legislative powers from the HoR because the HoR’s president, Ageela Saleh, is helping Haftar and the military to take power in Libya. The announcement by HCS President Abdurrahman Swehli also accused the HoR of undermining the LPA and refusing to ratify the GNA. Swehli called on Libyans to ‘close ranks’ and resist Haftar’s attempted coup.
The HCS’s announcement was widely and heavily criticised as a provocative and unwarranted escalation of the political divisions. Members of the HCS itself were first to condemn their president’s announcement, followed by UN Special Envoy Martin Kobler. HoR Deputy President Shouaib described the move as a “coup”. Shouaib, who headed the HoR team to the UN-brokered Libya Dialogue, said it was an escalation of the Libyan crisis and that Swehli should be ‘ignored’.