I'm looking for a word that describes favoritism granted in politics or business regardless of merit, but not just towards relatives.
Since you mention relatives, I assume you are discarding nepotism but you shouldn't, it is exactly the word you are looking for. While the original meaning does imply a blood relation it is often used to refer to favors done to friends as well. See, for example, this definition:
favouritism shown to relatives or close friends by those with power or influence
Another good option is cronyism:
Favoritism shown to old friends without regard for their qualifications, as in political appointments to office.
the power to control appointments to office or the right to privileges: recruits are selected on merit, not through political patronage