"It is essential that the opposition parties, the institutions of civil society and the media contribute so that the Prime Minister and the Government can get out of the situation of immobilism and find a path that will allow Portugal to return, within 10 years, to the 15th position in terms of development among the 27 countries of the European Union where it was in 2002, after having fallen in recent years to 21st place," said Cavaco Silva, in an opinion article in the Público newspaper.

The former head of state recalled that in April, he had estimated that "at the end of six months of life of the PS absolute majority government, there may already be objective information that would allow an assessment of its political courage to make the decisive reforms to put the Portuguese economy on a path of sustainable growth higher than that of our competitors in the European Union".

"This is indispensable for Portugal to stop being a country of minimum wages, with an impoverished middle class, retirement pensions that do not allow for a dignified life and low quality public health and education services," he stressed.

Cavaco Silva stressed that the Government "has been abundantly qualified in the media as a disjointed and disoriented set of worn-out ministers, without direction, without ambition and reformist will, a government adrift sailing by sight".

After six months of António Costa's absolute majority government, the former President of the Republic also quoted economist Ricardo Reis, when he said that the executive "despite all the promises, still hasn't announced a real reform whose intention is to shake up the economy".

"The situation is all the more worrying when there are studies on the reforms that should be made to put the country on a path of economic growth and improvement in the standard of living of the Portuguese promoted by credible institutions such as the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Francisco Manuel dos Santos Foundation and Sedes," warned Cavaco Silva.

For the former President, "it is in the collective interest that a change in the PS Government's attitude occurs urgently, given that it is expected to remain in office until 2026".

In relation to the Prime Minister, the social-democrat defended that António Costa is responsible for "leading the general policy of the executive and coordinating, guiding and stimulating the action of the ministers in order to achieve the defined objectives and guarantee the coherence of policies".

However, Cavaco Silva continues in the article that "today there is the fear that the politically reprehensible behaviour of some members of the Government, which, along with the chaos in the functioning of the National Health Service, has marked the life of the executive, and may limit the action of the prime minister and the Council of Ministers and accentuate their tendency towards apathy".

"On the one hand, the gravity of the Minister of Infrastructures' [Pedro Nuno Santos] political affront to the Prime Minister on the issue of the new Lisbon airport. Anyone who has held that position knows that the prime minister could not fail to dismiss the minister. By not doing so, he showed a lack of political strength, the reason for which is still unknown, calling his authority into question and, at the same time, undermining the credibility of the Council of Ministers and the respect for collegiality that should characterise it. The minister, in turn, was unequivocally strengthened as a candidate to succeed the prime minister as leader of the PS", analysed the former head of state.

Cavaco Silva also denounced a "second politically reproachable behaviour" that had the Minister of Agriculture as the protagonist.

"When confronted with criticism from the Confederation of Portuguese Farmers (CAP) about the lack of public support in the face of the extreme drought that was affecting the country she publicly stated: 'It is better to ask why, during the electoral campaign, CAP advised voters not to vote for the PS'," Cavaco Silva said.

"The minister's response to CAP's criticism is therefore particularly serious and dangerous for what it may reveal of arbitrariness and abuse of power by the Government and, consequently, negative for the definition and implementation of a reformist strategy indispensable to economic growth and increased productivity," added the former Prime Minister and President of the Republic.

Cavaco Silva appealed to the opposition parties, "to present proposals in line with that objective and to intensely scrutinise the Government, denouncing errors, omissions, lies and the PS's practice of vetoing the calling of ministers to parliamentary committees".

But also to the institutions of civil society, "through evidence of the consequences for the future of the country of the absence of an ambitious structural reform policy and persuading the Government to change course" and to the media, "through scrutiny of the Government's action beyond the day-to-day breathing, in a framework of truth and independence from political power that should characterise it".