Towards the end of the televised debate, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt accused the Social Democrat party of having holes in its budget. The claim put an end to an otherwise cordial debate in the first party-leader duel this year, the TT news agency noted. Swedes head to the polls in September, with jobs and the economy high on the agenda.
"You count like no one else does," opposition leader Stefan Löfven retorted, as he branded Reinfeldt "cocky" (kaxig).
"And you make up numbers all the time. We do not have budget holes."
The prime minister, however, assured his opponent that he knew how to crunch numbers, and accused the opposition party of promising tax cuts for pensioners that would drain part of the national budget.
The comments came at the end of a debate that focused in large parts on schools. Löfven earlier claimed that Reinfeldt's Moderate Party and its three coalition partners had taken to copying the opposition's proposed policies for education, among other policy areas.
Reinfeldt, however, kept his calm. He said it was good for Swedish schools if there was broad cross-bloc unity on how to proceed in order to improve Swedish pupils' learning.