By Alexandra Valencia

nQUITO (Reuters) – Ecuadorean President Daniel Noboa is seeking voter support on Sunday for a raft of security measures in a national referendum, as he grapples with spiking violence that has made international headlines.

Noboa has asked voters to back joint police-military patrols, the extradition of wanted criminals and longer sentences for terrorism and murder, among other crimes, to fight rising violence attributed to drug trafficking gangs.

Polling has suggested voters are more likely than not to support Noboa, 36, in the 11-question referendum, though recent power cuts may dampen support. Five of the measures would modify the constitution if passed.

Cocaine-smuggling gangs have expanded into every corner of Latin America over the last decade, turning once-tranquil nations like Ecuador into new battlegrounds, security officials and diplomats say.

In January, violence in Ecuador captured world attention when gunmen stormed a live television broadcast and scores of prison staff were taken hostage.

“We are tired of so much corruption and the abuse of order in this country,” said Claudio Medina, 53, in Quito. “We hope the referendum will help us have more security and peace.”

Voters will also weigh whether there should be tougher gun controls in areas close to prisons, no parole for crimes like kidnapping or terrorism financing, among others, and whether the military should be able to use confiscated weapons.

The referendum also includes a measure which would allow workers to be contracted by the hour, which opponents say will benefit the rich and international companies, and another recognizing international arbitrage.

Some voters were skeptical.

“There are some questions that seem to be for private interests and others that wouldn’t serve the country at all,” said student Adriel Jacome, 20.

Noboa ordered daily hours-long power cuts this week amid drought-related energy shortages, which some pollsters have said could harm his image and potentially the “yes” vote. Most of Ecuador’s energy is from hydropower.

(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia in Quito; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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