Instead, Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, 73, was named for the largely ceremonial post, spokesman Anusha Pelpita said. "Mr. Wickremanayake has taken his oaths as the new prime minister," he said.
However, he said previous plans to have a cabinet of ministers also appointed at the same time had been shelved.
"The cabinet will be sworn in either later today or tomorrow," he said.
Wickremanayake was prime minister under Kumaratunga briefly from 2000 to 2001 and was interior minister in the former government of president Kumaratunga.
He was also the minister of Buddhist affairs and is seen as an ultra nationalist politician who advocates tough military action to tame Tamil Tiger rebels. - AFP
-Amal Jayasinghe: firstname.lastname@example.org