The constitutional court in Guatemala has ruled that General Efrain Rios Montt, who seized power in a coup in 1982, can contest a presidential election in November.
General Rios Montt was barred from seeking the presidency in 1990 and 1995, but now the court has lifted the ban.
His lawyers argued that the constitutional provision disqualifying former coup leaders from the presidency did not apply to him because it became law after his period in office.
Analysts and foreign diplomats believe he has a good chance of winning the election.
Correspondents say that the General, who was himself deposed the year after his coup, is still a major powerbroker in Guatemala.
Human rights campaigners accuse General Rios Montt of ordering the massacres of thousands of Maya Indians while he was in power.
From the newsroom of the BBC World Service