Cronyism is the practice of partiality in awarding jobs and other advantages to friends or trusted colleagues, especially in politics and between politicians and supportive organizations. For instance, this includes appointing "cronies" to positions of authority, regardless of their qualifications.
Cronyism exists when the appointer and the beneficiary such as an appointee are in social or business contact. Often, the appointer needs support in his or her own proposal, job or position of authority, and for this reason the appointer appoints individuals who will not try to weaken his or her proposals, vote against issues, or express views contrary to those of the appointer. Politically, "cronyism" is derogatorily used to imply buying and selling favors, such as: votes in legislative bodies, as doing favors to organizations, giving desirable ambassadorships to exotic places, etc.
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary
n. favoritism shown to friends and associates (as by appointing them to positions without regard for their qualifications)
n. favoritism to friends without regard for their qualifications, especially by appointing them to political positions.
Usage examples of "cronyism".
It would leave in place all of the autocracy that has alienated Arab populations, the corruption and cronyism that have impoverished them, and the sectarianism and intrastate animosities that have destabilized them.