(Bloomberg) -- Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori — who was convicted for his role in death squad killings before being pardoned last year — is officially back in politics. 

Fujimori, 85, said on Wednesday that he had signed up to become a member of the Popular Force political party led by his daughter Keiko Fujimori, who has herself run unsuccessfully for the presidency three times. The move indicates that Fujimori will take on a more prominent political role in the next election cycle in Peru, set for 2026. 

Fujimori has been slowly rebuilding his public profile since leaving prison in December for most of the prior 16 years. He was freed after a controversial presidential pardon was reinstated by a local court, despite opposition from an international tribunal. 

He has been making YouTube videos defending his legacy, speaking to the press and publishing a book. In a moment in February that foreshadowed his reemergence, Fujimori spoke on behalf of Popular Force, telling reporters that the party had decided to support current President Dina Boluarte. She had also supported the reinstatement of his pardon. 

Fujimori is a divisive but prominent figure in Peru. He governed between 1990 and 2000 and is hailed for curbing hyperinflation and defeating the Shining Path, a Maoist insurgency. Yet Fujimori also staged an illegal power grab, shutting down Congress and the judiciary. He was eventually sentenced for human rights violations tied to his crackdown on the Shining Path in 2009.

Lawyers for Fujimori have in the past said that he should be able to run for the presidency in 2026. Still, a Fujimori candidacy is likely to be challenged in court by human rights advocates. It’s also possible Fujimori could seek another position, such as senator, or remain on the sidelines.

A poll by Ipsos this month found that 73% of Peruvians don’t think Fujimori has the right to run for the presidency. 

Fujimori disclosed earlier this year that he has a recurrence of tongue cancer after battling the disease in the past. Alejandro Aguinaga, a lawmaker and doctor who has long treated Fujimori, told local TV outlet Canal N that his party membership was “great news.” He didn’t rule out a potential candidacy. 

“At this time, the priority for Sir Alberto is for him to recover his health and beat cancer once more,” Aguinaga said. “The other issue, whether he’ll be a candidate or not, is an issue that he and his family will have to evaluate and decide.”

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