The Council of Deputies was formed following June 2014 elections, when the General National Congress formed as a transitional body after the Libyan Revolution dissolved. However, Islamists fared poorly in the low-turnout elections,and members of the Islamist-led GNC reconvened in August 2014, refusing to recognise the new parliament dominated by secularist and federalist lawmakers.
Supporters of the New General National Congress swiftly seized control of Tripoli, Libya's constitutional capital, forcing the newly elected parliament into virtual exile in Tobruk, near the Egyptian border.
The Council of Deputies enjoys widespread international recognition as Libya's official government. However, the Tripoli-based Supreme Court declared it illegal and voided the results of the election in November 2014. The court ruling was hailed by the GNC and its backers, but it was rejected as invalid by the Council of Deputies and its loyalists.
Against this backdrop of division, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and Ansar al-Sharia, as well as other militant groups both religious and tribal in nature, have seized control of several cities and districts across Libya, especially in Cyrenaica, which is theoretically under the control of the Tobruk-based government.
A number of commentators have described Libya as a failed state or suggested it is on the verge of failure.