The governing Socialist Party (PS) and Communist Party (PCP), meanwhile, proposed changes to the way the PJM’s director is appointed, albeit each in a different way, in amendments the parties tabled to the preliminary report of the inquiry, which is to be debated next week.

PS deputy Ricardo Bexiga, who drafted the report, suggested on 31 May in tabling it that the director of the PJM should be a "recognised jurist, with experience of investigation" and should not have to be a member of the military. He or she would be chosen by the prime minister and the defence minister for a period of five years, "renewable only once."

In its proposed amendments to Bexiga’s text, the BE suggests that parliament recommend that the government "consider the winding up of the Military Judicial Police, with all its functions and competences as criminal investigation police, passed to the [civilian] Polícia Judiciária."

The PCP proposes that consideration should be given that the director of the PJM should be selected from individuals, civilians or military, “with recognised training and experience in the field of criminal investigation".

The inquiry into the political consequences and responsibilities of the theft of military material at Tancos, proposed by the People’s Party (CDS-PP), started sitting in November 2018, with the report the last act of its investigation into the case that brought down the army chief of staff, Frederico José Rovisco Duarte, and the defence minister, José Azeredo Lopes.

The theft was announced by the army on 29 June, 2017. Four months later, the PJM announced that the stolen materiel had been recovered at Chamusca, some 20km from Tancos, with the help of members of the criminal investigation unit of National Republican Guard (GNR) at Loulé, in the Algarve.

Among the items stolen in June 2017 were grenades, anti-tank weapons, plastic explosives and a large amount of ammunition.

The case prompted a criminal investigation in which the then PJM director was detained.