The Full Wiki

Nepotism: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nepotism is favoritism granted to relatives or friends, without regard to their merit.[1] The word nepotism is from the Latin word nepos (meaning "nephew" or "grandchild").


Types of nepotism



Nepotism gained its name after the church practice in the Middle Ages, when some Catholic popes and bishops, who had taken vows of chastity, and therefore usually had no children of their own, gave their nephews such positions of preference as were often accorded by fathers to son.[2]

Several popes elevated nephews and other relatives to the cardinalate. Often, such appointments were a means of continuing a papal "dynasty".

For instance, Pope Callixtus III, head of the Borgia family, made two of his nephews Cardinals; one of them, Rodrigo, later used his position as a Cardinal as a stepping stone to the papacy, becoming Pope Alexander VI.[3] Alexander then elevated Alessandro Farnese, his mistress's brother, to the cardinalate; Farnese would later go on to become Pope Paul III.[4]

Paul also engaged in nepotism, appointing, for instance, two nephews, aged fourteen and sixteen, as cardinals. The practice was finally ended when Pope Innocent XII issued the bull Romanum decet Pontificem, in 1692.[2] The papal bull prohibited popes in all times from bestowing estates, offices, or revenues on any relative, with the exception that one qualified relative (at most) could be made a Cardinal.


Nepotism is a common accusation in politics when the relative of a powerful figure ascends to similar power seemingly without appropriate qualifications. The British English expression "Bob's your uncle" is 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.[citation needed]



Anna Bligh, who won the 2008 Queensland State election has been accused of nepotism by giving her husband Greg Withers a bureaucratic position.[5]


Upon winning a landslide election in 2008, Prime Minister Dean Barrow has been perceived as practicing nepotism by Making his Ex-Wife Lois Young Barrow the Attorney of the Government, gave his son Anwar Barrow and his Ex-Wife Lois Barrow special seats on the board of directors in the recently nationalized Belize Telecommunications Limited, and gave his daughter Deanne Barrow a position of attorney representing the government in a number of cases. All this was done within the short 2 year period that he has been Prime Minister of Belize


Over the past decade, criticism has been growing over the creation of political dynasties in Belgium, in which all of the traditional parties have been involved. This phenomenon has been explained by the fact that prominent party members control the ranking of candidates on party lists for elections and a candidate's place on a list determines whether or not he or she is elected. Another justification for the phenomenon is the importance of name recognition for collecting votes.[6]

  • Tom Dehaene, the son of former prime minister Jean-Luc Dehaene, becoming a member of the provincial council for the Christian Democrats at age 26
  • Jean-Jacques De Gucht, the son of former minister and current European Commissioner for Trade Policy Karel De Gucht, being placed at the top of the electoral list for the Flemish Liberals in the 2007 federal elections for the region of East Flanders and subsequent appointment to the Senate at age 27,[7]
  • Freya Van den Bossche, the daughter of former minister Luc Van den Bossche, a member of the Flemish socialists, being appointed the youngest minister in Belgian history at age 28.[8]
  • Bruno Tobback, the son of former minister and mayor of Leuven Louis Tobback, a member of the Flemish socialists, becoming minister for the environment in the federal government at age 34
  • Mathias De Clerq, the grandson of former minister Willy De Clercq.[9]
  • Alexander De Croo, the son of former speaker of the Belgian parliament Herman De Croo, running for the leadership of his father's party Open VLD at age 33.[10]
  • Maya Detiege the daughter of form mayor of Antwerp Leona Detiège, who herself is the daughter of the former mayor of Antwerp Frans Detiège.[6]
  • In October 2009 Jean Sarkozy is about to become EPAD's director despite lacking any real diploma yet and having no professional experience [11].
  • In September 2009 Pierre Sarkozy, first son of President Nicolas Sarkozy, asked SCPP for a financial help (of around 10000€) towards an 80000€ artistic project. Pierre Sarkozy not being an SCPP member, financing was automatically rejected. Following the refusal, he went to the Élysée which lead to an Élysée counsel contacting the SCPP, and SCPP president Marc Guez assuring the issue would soon be favorably resolved[12][13]. According to Abeille Music president and SCPP member Yves Riesel, however, this will not happen as SCPP's financial helps have been restricted to members only for months[14].
  • Elena Basescu, the 28 years old daughter of President Traian Basescu, was elected in 2009 in the European Parliament, despite the fact the she had no significant professional or political experience. Although she was an independent candidate, her candidature was supported by the staff of the Democrat-Liberal Party (PD-L, her father's party). Elena Udrea, a key member of PD-L, "donated" the campaign headquarter and Monica Iacob Ridzi, the Minister of Sports, openly spent governmental money to help Elena Basescu to achieve her candidature goal.[15]
  • Honorius Prigoana, the old son of Romanian mogul Silviu Prigoana, was the candidate for the post of deputy in the elections for the Romanian Parliament, despite the fact the he had no significant professional or political experience. If he will win elections, Honorius being the youngest one deputy in the history of Romania in Parliament.
  • George Papandreou, the Greek prime minister, was firstly elected MP in 1981 with PASOK, the party led by his father, Andreas, and has been included in numerous cabinets under either his father or Kostas Simitis.

Many Irish politicians "inherit" seats in the Oireachtas (Parliament) from family members: a list is given at Families in the Oireachtas.


President Hugo Chavez and Cilia Flores, president of the Venezuela National Assembly, are also known for their influences to get family members in the government. Flores managed to place relatives in as many as nine of sixty permanent positions at the National Assembly- three siblings, two nephews, a cousin, the mother of that cousin, her mother-in-law and an aunt.[16][citation needed]

United Kingdom
  • The Miliband family: Ralph Miliband, the Marxist intellectual, co-founder of New Reasoner, New Left Review and Socialist Register was the father of David Milliband, elected MP for South Shields 2001, now foreign minister, former head of Downing Street Policy Unit and Ed Milliband, Energy and Climate Change Secretary.[17]
United States

Examples of nepotism in the United States include:

  • Robert F. Kennedy was selected to be U. S. Attorney General by his brother, U. S. President John F. Kennedy in 1960–1961, a position Robert took and held before he was later elected senator.[18]
  • In March 2009, Max Baucus, Democratic Senator of Montana, nominated his girlfriend, Melodee Hanes, an attorney working for him at the time, for an U.S. Attorney General position in Montana, while he was chairman of the Senate Finance Committee[19]

At some point, nepotism at high levels of government might serve to create what are in effect monarchies in nominal republics. In Syria, the case of the al-Assads mentioned above is one example.

In entertainment

Outside of national politics, accusations of "nepotism" are made in instances of prima facie favoritism to relatives, such as:

Social and economic effects

Nepotism and cronyism can have short- and long-term effects on a society, depending on the extent of the take-up and social acceptability of these practices.

Areas in which, it is believed, nepotism has negative societal effects:

  • the civil service
  • intergovernmental relations (ambassadors, civil-service attached personnel)

See also


  1. ^ Modern Language Association (MLA):"nepotism." The American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005. 10 Aug. 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Article Nepotism". New Catholic Dictionary. Retrieved 2007-07-12. 
  3. ^ "Article Pope Alexander VI". New Catholic Dictionary. Retrieved 2007-07-12. 
  4. ^ "Article Pope Paul III". Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2007-07-12. 
  5. ^ Des Houghton, June 28, 2008. "Anna Bligh's Labor in trouble in the polls". Couriermail, Retrieved August 17, 2009
  6. ^ a b Politiek België is familiezaak - Buitenland - [24 uur actueel, ook mobiel] [buitenland]
  7. ^“Zonder_zijn_naam_had_Jean-Jacques_De_Gucht_nooit_op_de_lijst_gestaan”_29a8f63c.aspx
  8. ^ TIMEeurope Magazine | Equal Time
  9. ^ De Standaard Online - Willy De Clercq is zijn geheugen kwijt
  10. ^ Alexander De Croo wil voorzitter Open Vld worden -
  11. ^ Poll shows majority against job for Sarkozy's son
  12. ^ Népotisme et Sarkozysme, acte II (màj)
  13. ^ Après Jean, un coup de pouce de l'Elysée pour Pierre Sarkozy
  14. ^ Après Jean, l'Elysée se met au service de Pierre Sarkozy
  15. ^ How daughter of Romanian President Basescu will be elected MEP as an independent with help from Basescu's supporting party
  16. ^ Nacional y Política -
  17. ^ [}
  18. ^ Walter R. Mears and Hal Buell: The Kennedy Brothers: A Legacy in Photographs. Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc. September 2009 ISBN 1-60376-157-8
  19. ^
  20. ^ Peaches Geldof bags TV reality show as magazine editor
  21. ^ EXTRA: Nepotism in the Director's Chair at
  22. ^ Nothing is true, everything is permitted - Coppola nepotism hate
  23. ^ Nicolas Cage - Biography

Further reading

External links

Simple English

Nepotism is a government (in most circumstances, the head of it) in which importance is given to the relatives of those already in power, like a nephew (where the word comes from). In such governments even if the relatives aren't qualified they are given positions of authority just because they know someone who already has authority.


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address