(look at the first bulleted example of nepotism written in wikipedia, surfed on 18 Mar 2008)
Nepotism is the showing of favoritism toward relatives, based upon that relationship, rather than on an objective evaluation of ability or suitability. For instance, offering employment to a relative, despite the fact that there are others who are better qualified and willing to perform the job, would be considered nepotism. The word nepotism is from the Latin word ‘nepos’, meaning “nephew” or “grandchild“.
Nepotism is a common accusation in politics when the relative of a powerful figure ascends to similar power seemingly without appropriate qualifications. For example, the popular British English expression “Bob’s your uncle” is often thought to have originated when Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, promoted his nephew, Arthur Balfour, to the esteemed post of Chief Secretary for Ireland in what was widely seen as an act of nepotism. More recently, when U.S. Senator Frank Murkowski was elected Governor of Alaska, he appointed his daughter, State Representative Lisa Murkowski, to fill the remaining two years of his seat and was accused by some of nepotism. John F. Kennedy was accused of nepotism for his appointment of his brother Robert Kennedy as Attorney General, and there have been many allegations that during the presidency of George W. Bush it became much more widespread
Many countries in the world have examples of this tilt towards dynastic rule, such as:
- Malaysia: Tun Abdul Razak, the second Prime Minister, and his son, Najib Tun Razak, the current Deputy Prime Minister; Khairy Jamaluddin who won his position as Deputy Chief of UMNO Youth Wing with the influence of his father-in-law, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the current Prime Minister.
- Maldives: President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom once had 13 of his brothers, brothers-in-law, and classmates as members of his cabinet.
- Singapore: Lee Hsien Loong, the eldest son of Singapore‘s first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, is the current Prime Minister of Singapore. Lee Hsien Loong was also the youngest Brigadier General in the Singapore Armed Forces. He joined the forces in 1971 and by 1983, he was the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces. His wife (Lee Kuan Yew’s daughter-in law), Ho Ching, is the Chief Executive Officer of Temasek Holdings, a government-controlled fund that owns assets over US$100 billion, including a large proportion of the largest Singaporean companies. These include SingTel, the largest South-East Asian telecom company, which was headed by Lee Hsien Yang (Lee Kuan Yew’s younger son) from 1995 to 2006. Lee Hsien Yang became CEO of Singtel at age 38, after a successful career in the Singapore Armed Forces which saw him reach the rank of Brigadier General as well.
- Syria: Bashar al-Assad was appointed as President after his father Hafez‘s death, despite being too young for the post under the country’s constitution as it then stood.
- North Korea: Kim Jong-il became Chairman of the National Defense Commission, Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army, and General Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea (the ruling party since 1948), succeeding his father Kim Il-sung, the founder of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, who died in 1994.
- Trinidad and Tobago: Prime Minister Patrick Manning appointed his unelected wife Hazel Manning to the Cabinet for two consecutive terms, first as Minister of Education and currently as Minister of Local Government.
- France: in 2008 Jean Sarkozy, son of the French President Nicolas Sarkozy, stood for election in a canton in the affluent Parisian suburb of Neuilly, the same district in which his father was Mayor. The original candidate was a loyal member of Sakozy’s UMP Party named Arnaud Teulle. He stepped aside to allow Jean Sarkozy to run. This resulted in French commentators announcing “behold, the rise of the dauphin“.