No posts were given to the Marxist JVP, or People's Liberation Front, or to the all-monks JHU, or National Heritage Party. The two nationalist parties were key allies of Rajapakse in last Thursday's election which he narrowly won.
The JVP quit the previous government in June after falling out with then-president Chandrika Kumaratunga over proposals to share tsunami aid with Tamil Tiger rebels. It supported Rajapakse's candidature.
Political sources said squabbling for top jobs in cabinet delayed the swearing in of the new government, originally scheduled for Monday to coincide with the induction of Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake.
The appointment of Wickremanayake raised concern among some analysts about the prospects for a ceasefire in place since 2002 with separatist Tamil Tiger rebels.
The ethnic war has claimed more than 60,000 lives since 1972.
There was no official explanation of why the JVP was kept out of cabinet, but a senior minister who declined to be named said there were differences with the Marxists on the appointments.
"What this signals is an early parliamentary election," said the minister. "The president can improve the strength of the SLFP (his moderate Sri Lanka Freedom Party) and reduce the dependency on the JVP."
The all-monks party said it had not expected any cabinet posts but would support Rajapakse in parliament.
"We are not joining the government but will support it as long as the president implements his manifesto," JHU spokesman Udaya Gammanpila told AFP. "We want the 'Mahinda Chintanaya' (Mahinda's philosophy) implemented from A to Z." - AFP The JHU insists that Rajapakse drop plans for a federal state in exchange for ethnic peace in the troubled island where more than 190 people were killed this year in violence linked to the conflict despite a 2002 ceasefire. There was no immediate reaction from the JVP about being left out, but a party statement said it was calling a press conference "to appraise the decisive steps the JVP will be taking under the present political situation." A top government source said the JVP had been offered five portfolios, but there had been disagreement and the party eventually declared it would not take up any positions. Political analysts had widely expected a snap parliamentary election following Thursday's presidential election. The current parliament was elected in April last year for a six-year term, but the president can call early polls. "If the JVP did not take ministries on their own that means they want to hold the 'remote control' over the government," said Sunanda Deshapriya, director at the Centre for Policy Alternatives thinktank. "If they were left out because of disagreement, then we can expect an election." He said either way, the president would have a tough balancing act with the JVP which has 39 seats in the 225-member parliament and is a considerable force to reckon with. There were other fissures too. Kumaratunga's brother Anura Bandaranaike, who was earlier tipped to be the prime minister, was dropped and instead appointed tourism minister. His deputy is Sri Lanka's world cup-winning cricket skipper Arjuna Ranatunga. The foreign ministry went to Mangala Samaraweera, the top campaign manager for Rajapakse. Samaraweera will also be minister of ports and aviation.