On 14 October, Khalifa al-Ghwell, former prime minister of the General National Congress’ (GNC) government which was ousted by the UN-backed Presidential Council in March, led a group of anti-GNA militias and former GNC members to seize the Presidential Palaces in central Tripoli. These buildings had previously housed the GNC and until Ghwell’s takeover last week they housed the High Council of State (HCS), a consultative body created by the UN’s Libyan Political Agreement (LPA). On 16 October, the militia responsible for guarding the Presidential Palaces announced its defection from the HSC to Khalifa al-Ghwell’s and his supporters.
Ghwell declared his intention to take executive power from the GNA, and called on the House of Representatives’ (HoR) interim government in Eastern Libya to join with him to form a new political dialogue process and legitimate unity government. The GNA condemned the seizure as an attempt to establish a parallel government, and instructed its Minister of Interior to arrest the perpetrators. However no military action was taken.
On 15 October, the HoR’s interim government (which is seen as illegitimate by the UN) asked the HoR to consider al-Ghwell’s proposal to join forces against the GNA within the framework of the previous ‘Libyan-Libyan’ dialogue attempt. Although al-Ghwell is attempting to join forces with the HoR against the GNA, the HoR is allied with Haftar and yet al-Ghwell’s backers are mainly hard-line Islamists who are against any rapprochement with Haftar.