Son Sann was born in (October 5) 1911 in Kampuchea Krom, part of the Khmer Empire. He was educated in France where he received a degree in commerce from the School for Advanced Commercial Studies. Upon completion of his education in 1933, Son Sann served in numerous positions under the French colonial rule and under Sihanouk regime including governor of the Cambodia’s National Bank, minister of finance, and prime minister. A veteran politician, Son Sann was regarded by many Cambodians as a true nationalist and a man of dignity and high intelligence. After Sihanouk was overthrown in 1970 by General Lon Nol, Son Sann left Cambodia and settled in Paris.
In October 9, 1979, Son Sann set up an anti-communist resistance movement, the Khmer People’s National Liberation Front (KPNLF) in opposition to the Vietnamese occupying forces and its satellite government, the People’s Republic of Kampuchea. The KPNLF joined the royalist FUNCINPEC and the Khmer Rouge to form a Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea. Son Sann served as the prime minister of this government in exile. Prior to the 1993 supervised elections, Son San transformed KPNLF into the Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party. This party won 10 seats out of a total 120 seats in the 1993 general elections. Son Sann served briefly as the Chairman of the National Assembly during which time he was actively involved in the supervision of the drafting of the new constitution. By the end of 1993 he retired from public life.
Son Sann died in (December 19) 2000. The end of his life was marked with frustration when his attempts to introduce democratic pluralism to Cambodia were unsuccessful, and his political party was weakened and then disintegrated by factionalism. His subsequent political party, known as the Son Sann Party, failed to capture a single seat in the 1998 elections.